707-769-2008   *  SONOMA COUNTY   *   CA   *  94951


August 13, 2003

OK., quick: what's the opposite of catadromous? Give up? Why it's anadromous, of course!

Catadromous fish are those that swim down freshwater streams and into the sea to spawn. Anadromous fish perform this migration in reverse. Anadromous fish swim from the ocean and travel up freshwater streams to spawn. Salmon, for example, are famous exponents of the anadromous life, but maybe not for long.

Unfortunately, our rivers and streams are drying up and what is left of our remaining water resources is increasingly polluted. All these problems—preventable problems—are making life difficult for anadromous fish. Watershed Protection and Restoration Council (WPRC) has a plan to help anadromous fish make their great leap forward.



People who traveled in California in the early part of the 1800's reported seeing crystal-clear rivers clogged with clouds of salmon. California was in those days a wonderland of immaculate abundance and natural generosity. Schools of salmon were so dense that people scooped them out of the water with just a net on a stick; didn't need a line and hook.

By the 1850's, the American River near Sacramento had no salmon at all. What happened? The Gold Rush happened. The Gold Rush excavated so much dirt, about eight times the dirt excavated to make the Panama Canal, that nearly all the rivers in the way died. This dirt in the Sierras was dumped into rivers where it immediately killed all the fish; went downstream where it jammed up the Carquines Straits, and finally created a visible brown plume 20 or 30 miles beyond the Golden Gate.

Today's "Gold Rush" is the building boom. County officials permit developers to devastate open space and deplete water resources as they scramble to erect houses, shopping malls, industrial space and huge commercial centers. The resulting overpopulation from all this irresponsible building has created so much human waste that the normal methods of disposal are now inadequate. The building boom has also produced a water resource bust; we are nearly out of water in Sonoma County. These burdens are extracting a grim toll from our environment; the threat to anadromous fish is analogous to the dying canary in a coal mine: it's time to do something.



Many useful links in the library. Click above.

O.W.L. Foundation


Support your O.W.L. Foundation