It is very easy to blame the decline of salmon numbers on industry, but a significant portion of the problem starts right at the home. In our everyday activities, there are many ways that we influence the wild salmon's chance for survival. If we educate ourselves about salmon and the modern challenges they face, we can do a lot of little things to help them overcome these challenges.
Below are some tips on how you can help the wild salmon. Remember that if we all do a little bit to help, it will add up to a lot; and then there will be plenty of salmon for all the people, animals, and forests.
Be courteous to salmon.
When visiting rivers or streams, avoid areas of gravel where salmon eggs may be incubating. Also, do not disturb migrating or spawning salmon; these salmon are using the last of their strength to migrate upstream and to spawn.
Dispose of oil and chemicals properly.
Take toxic substances to disposal and recycling facilities. Never dump these substances down storm drains! If you spill any oil or other chemical, cover the spill with an absorbent material, such as kitty litter. After the spill is absorbed, collect and dispose of the absorbent material in the garbage.
Littering hurts salmon and rivers as well as the whole environment.
Don't water too much.
Try not to water your lawn more than one inch per week. More water can wash away essential nutrients, cause shallow root growth, and increase sediment runoff. To measure one inch of water, place a tuna can on your lawn while watering. Water in the evening when there will be a minimum of evaporation and the water will be used most efficiently.
Landscape with native plants.
Native plants are adapted to regional environmental conditions while exotic plants are not. They require less water, fertilizer, and spray, which when used excessively can pollute water, increase sediment runoff, and kill salmon.
Leave woody debris in rivers.
Do not remove woody debris from rivers or streams. Woody debris give salmon places to hide and provide food for insects and plants which salmon feed upon.
Maintain boats and automobiles.
Repair vehicles before they begin leaking gas, oil, or other harmful substances. Boats sometimes leak toxic substances directly into rivers while land vehicles drip onto roads and parking lots which usually drain substances directly into rivers.
Obey fishing regulations.
If you are a fisherman, read and follow fishing regulations carefully. Only take home the salmon that you need and release the others without hurting them.
Recycle used things.
Recycle as many things as possible. Recycling helps conserve our environment and limited resources for future generations.
Report illegal fishing.
If you see someone fishing illegally or disturbing spawning salmon, contact your local State Patrol office and report what you have seen.
Help riparian habitat.
Avoid having lawns extend down to the edges of natural water courses. Instead, plant native vegetation along rivers and streams. This will reduce soil erosion, cool water temperatures, give salmon places to hide, and provide food for insects and plants which salmon feed upon.
Hydroelectric dams generate electricity for all of us. If we don't use too much electricity, we won't have to build more dams. Dams are a major obstacle to salmon migrating to and from the sea. To save electricity, turn off lights, TVs, radios, and other appliances when they are not in use. Also, don't run dishwashers or washing machines except when they have full loads.
Stay on designated trails.
When hiking or biking, stay on designated trails. Going off the trails damages natural vegetation and increases sediment runoff.
Sweep your walks and driveway.
Don't use water for these chores. Water will wash the dirt and litter into storm drains and directly into rivers.
Use drip irrigation.
Drip irrigation allows more accurate application of water to plants. This reduces sediment runoff into rivers.
Wash your car responsibly.
Whenever possible, use automatic car washes which recycle water and properly dispose of detergents. If you must wash your car yourself, park it on grass instead of paved surfaces while washing. This will allow pollutants to filter through soil instead of washing down storm drains and into rivers.
For more tips, visit the following web sites:
How You Can Help - For the Sake of the Salmon
Home and Garden Hints for Healthy Streams and Salmon - King County, Washington