“Cold water is the lifeblood of these fish we are all working so hard to protect,” NOAA Fisheries West Coast Regional Administrator Will Stelle said. “But that critical lifeblood is under threat from many factors, including climate change. We applaud the commitment by EPA and Oregon DEQ to work hard on behalf of salmon by mapping and restoring these essential cold water refugia.”
As they migrate upstream to spawn, fish like salmon and steelhead use cold water areas in rivers as stopovers, and researchers believe these refugia will become more critical as the effects of climate change deepens.
“We know that climate change means higher river temperatures need to be factored into our planning,” EPA Regional Administrator Dennis McLerran said. "By locating, documenting and protecting cool water refuges for fish, we can help give endangered salmon and trout a fighting chance. I’m calling on all federal agencies and partners with a stake in their recovery to support this effort and help these fish reach their home waters.”