Why Did the Salmon Cross the Road?
Every year, salmon make an incredible journey to their respective spawning area in an event known as the salmon run. Along the way, these salmon encounter a number of obstacles, both natural and unnatural.
One shoal of chum salmon recently encountered one of these unnatural obstacles. After the Skokomish River in Washington flooded, a number of salmon were seen crossing the highway.
Several groups of salmon enter the Skokomish River via the Hood Canal. When excess rain causes the river to flood, some of these salmon can be rerouted to a “shortcut” across Washington’s various roads and highways.
“It’s always kind of a shock to see a nine- or 10-pound salmon crossing the road,” says Aaron Dufault, a salmon policy analyst at the Washington Department of Fish and Wildlife.
You can view the salmon crossing the highway in the video below:
This phenomenon isn’t an uncommon one either. Excess precipitation is quite common in areas of Washington during the salmon spawning season, meaning that chum salmon splash across the open roads of Washington year after year.
While many of the salmon that cross the road are likely to be struck by cars, Dufault says this won’t hurt the chances of the species as a whole. The streams that settle across the roadways are just one of many paths that lead to the final destination of the salmon’s journey, meaning more of their species are likely to make it.
Of course, there are factors that are actively threatening the future of the salmon population. Indeed, one species of salmon that travels through the Hood Canal are listed as “threatened” by the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration.