There's No Doubt Drought Is Stressing Fish And Wildlife - So Says ODFW's Animated "Singing Trout" - KTVZ

There’s No Doubt Drought Is Stressing Fish And Wildlife – So Says ODFW’s Animated “Singing Trout” – KTVZ

SALEM, Ore. (KTVZ) — During droughts, fish and wildlife are stressed. Ongoing drought conditions may adversely affect Oregon’s fish and wildlife.

While part of Oregon enjoyed a wet spring and early summer, parts of the state are still experiencing significant drought (including southeastern Oregon and parts southwestern, central and northeastern Oregon). Extreme temperatures and heat this week will exacerbate drought conditions.

During a drought, fish like Oregon’s iconic salmon and rainbow trout face even more challenges, as low water can block them and make migration to the ocean even more difficult for them. juvenile fish. During this time, adult fish returning to their home rivers may struggle to survive in warm waters and may not complete their life cycle and spawn the next generation of fish.

As food and water become scarcer, birds and mammals can become weak and their young are less likely to survive. Female mule deer may not have enough forage to feed their young, so fewer fawns survive.

Reptiles and amphibians also have limited habitat in ultra-dry conditions with species like Foothill yellow legged frogs affected. Drought will increase frog densities in the remaining pools, leading to greater competition, lower growth rates, increased risk of disease transmission, and lower tadpole survival.

No one can control the weather, but everyone who spends time outdoors can take steps to reduce the unintended impacts of recreation on fish, wildlife and their habitats during drought. Share this with your friends!

In case of drought, tread carefully.
Habitat can be negatively affected by careless off-trail use. Cyclists and hikers are encouraged to stay on the trails and only leave the trails when necessary. ATV/UTV users should avoid driving on or through stream beds (wet or dry) as this permanently damages habitat. Remember to keep your dogs on a leash and on the trails to limit the disturbance of wildlife that shelters nearby.

In case of drought, help to fish.
Summer is a peak time for outdoor recreation in Oregon, and spending time on and around the water is a common pastime. Be considerate when swimming, boating, paddling and fishing, as human presence is more stressful to fish during drought. Consider fishing in the morning and evening when the weather is cooler. Try to bring in and release the fish quickly to avoid exhausting them before releasing them. Try swimming in larger bodies of water where fish and other creatures don’t congregate to take refuge. More fishing tips.

In times of drought, help wildlife out.
Remember that you share the outdoors with the wildlife that inhabits it, and they are more sensitive to visitors in their “home” in times of drought. Try to camp away from waterholes, rivers and streams, as your presence can drive wildlife away from a water source they need. Try to limit your noise levels to avoid scaring wildlife away from the important habitat they need during drought.

Note that “helping” does not mean feeding wildlife, which can cause more problems by herding wildlife and habituating them to unnatural food sources and habitat.

In case of drought, redirect.
Summer in Oregon is a great time of year to be outdoors, but consider recreating in alternative locations where recreation has less impact on fish, wildlife, and habitat during Drought. Try fishing for warm water species less sensitive to summer heat or trout in high mountain lakes where water temperatures remain cooler. Or try swimming in larger, deeper lakes or reservoirs instead of rivers and streams where fish and wildlife struggle to find a place to recover from the heat and drought. Seek to camp away from water or low water so as not to scare fish and wildlife away from critical resources.

When in dry weather, use binoculars to spot.
Binoculars are a great way to observe wildlife from afar and spot upcoming hunting seasons, as they limit the amount of habitat disturbance during drought. Try to limit animal disturbance during the summer when you are scouting or observing wildlife. Use optics whenever you can to avoid crossing the habitat. Always give animals access to water, especially at night.

In case of drought, the campfires go out.
Reduce the risk of wildfire by completely extinguishing your campfire (including embers and ashes). Be prepared with a fire extinguisher if a fire accidentally occurs from your campfire (required during fire season for all ATVs and for vehicles not driven on county or state roads).

ODFW launched an awareness campaign (featuring a singing trout) to explain the impacts of drought on fish and wildlife and their habitats and to suggest ways for Oregonians and visitors to reduce their unintended impacts during outdoor recreation. See campaign ads here.

The campaign is funded by a grant from the Oregon Conservation and Recreation Fund.

Visit to learn more about the impacts of drought on Oregon’s fish, wildlife, and habitat.

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