Thanks Jeff, fascinating article. I just can't help but be a little skeptical when man tries to do anything nature does better. About the only thing we humans can do to help nature is leave her alone, and we really suck at that. I believe the PNW ecosystem is designed to cycle nutrients from salmonid bodies, therefore when these runs are decimated the rivers will be depressed in many different dimensions of biomass. If left alone to succeed, or perhaps after a refresh period of fertilization before being left alone, the nutrient level should return to the natural cycle and this will promote itself to health.
I can't disagree that fertilization of rivers may be a useful assistance program to rekindle salmonid populations in over-fished and over-logged river systems. I hope the implication of this is to reboot river systems and not to put rivers on an artificial nutrient program to cover up our tendency to commit nature crimes.
Forgive my seeming mistrust of these things, and thanks for the cool story link.
If you're looking for nutrients from rotting salmon carcasses, check out the Cedar River this fall. The sockeye run is going to be incredible this year. It might even hit 500,000 fish the way the counts are going at the Ballard Locks. If only it were that way every year.
I'm a pretty dedicated flyfishing only kind of guy... but when the count goes over 400k in the Lake Washington system I break out the dodgers and bare hooks for my share of ocean bright sockeye fillets before and after work! I recall one year they went over 700k and the limit per person went to 4/day. If we did it right we were in work by 9:30am with our limits of red salmon fillet in the cooler.
This is precisely the kind of fishery where harvest is sensible and appropriate... a run of salmon that is off limits until peak years. IMHO, opening river systems to harvest despite depressed returns makes no sense. I like BC's policy of rotating fishing areas (even coastal).
Glad to hear the reds are strong this year. My Big Chief smoker will be feeling left out sitting in my east coast garage during all the hub-bub.