An Adventure to Central and Eastern Oregon

I still can’t believe that I only have two more week until my final presentation and three weeks left in total.

The first couple of weeks, I spent a lot of time researching the Endangered Species Act (ESA) as mentioned in my earlier blogs. I had questions which I did not have a solid answers too. The questions I faced was, what happens when two listed species overlap. An example of this is the Southern Resident Killer Whales (SRKW) and the Chinook salmon. Last week a SRKW gave birth, unfortunately the newborn did not make it. Since then, the mother still carries the dead newborn on its nose as it migrates with the pod. We don’t know how long this will last, and how much stress this puts on the mother. Unlike other killer whales, SRKW feed primarily on Chinook salmon. From what is happening with the SRKW, people are raising question to provide food for the SRKW. Well, what does this mean? This mean hatcheries will have to crank up Chinook production. However, there is a downside to increasing salmon production. Increasing hatcheries production may increase risk towards Chinook salmon which are also listed. This is a challenging question to answer when prioritizing one species over the other could bring one specie to extinction which defeats the purpose of the ESA. This situation becomes increasing complex given we have very little information on the populations dynamics and rapid changes in climate altering ecosystems.

This week I went down to Bend with Wesley, another Oregon Sea Grant Summer Scholar. We did a six hours hike up to Broken Top. The first portion of the hike was great because we had a huge cloud hovering over us as we climb up in elevation. Luckily the sun was not beating down on us. There was a part in the hike which was very sketchy. The path was very narrow and the gravel was unstable, not to mention there was some snow and nothing for us to grip on with our hands as we slowly move across. Aside from the scary part of the hike. The view was fantastic! Broken top in front, Three Sisters Mountain, Mt. Bachelors and many more. We kept hiking until we reached the lake at the bottom of Broken Top. The lake had no name which is why I think they named it No Name Lake. By the time we had reached the lake we were exhausted, and decided to dip into the lake before heading back to the trail head. I planned on hiking Crater Lake the next morning but after this hike, my legs had enough. Crater Lake would have to wait another day.

On our way back to Portland, we took a detour towards Warm Springs. I heard there was a hot springs there and I wanted to see the Eastern parts of Oregon. The Eastern part of Oregon was of course drier, however the landscape was very nice. Before we reached the hot springs we encountered wild horses. They were grazing along the side of the road and blocking the road. I’ve never seen a wild horse. They were well groomed and their colors varied unlike the domesticated horses I’ve seen. We finally reached the hot springs without running any wild horse over. The hot spring was not what I had in mind. It was a swimming pool with two slides similar to a water park. We came all this way, so I had to get into the water and at least slide down the slides. It was 30 feet high. I wanted to get a thrill in before we hit the road again. Until next blog, that is all I have for now.

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3 thoughts on “An Adventure to Central and Eastern Oregon

  1. Very interesting how different ESA-listed species (chinook and killer whales) are intersecting in the news and providing real-world examples of how the ESA framework can be used to make determinations. Is your office doing a lot of communication related to this news item?

  2. Echoing Sarah – nice job at relating the relevance of your work to a current event that has captivated many over the last couple of weeks.

  3. For the most part it is a complex and challenging situation that we do not have the answers to. In order to increase salmon production it would require a lot of time to review and change the hatchery plans. Then once that is done it would take even more time to see some progress. Then the next question becomes, how long are we going to supply the whales before they recover? At this point, I think there is no true answers.

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