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ROSEBURG, Ore. (AP) — Near record-low returns of spring chinook to the South Umpqua River have state wildlife biologists concerned.

The News-Review reported Monday that this year, snorkel counts revealed 28 fish returning to their natal pools.

That’s the second-lowest since the department started recording numbers 40 years ago.

Loss of spawning habitat, warming river temperatures, predation and ocean acidification are contributing to the decline.

Greg Huchko with the Oregon Department of Fish and Wildlife says he would like to see the population around 600.

Around 170 fish on average have returned to the southern Oregon river each year.

Huchko says if such low fish returns continue, that population of spring chinook could become extinct.


Information from: The News-Review,