Toxic Ashes and Charred Forests Threaten Water Quality After Nor Cal Fires


The fires that burned wildlands and urban areas in Northern California this month now pose a threat to water quality, humans and wildlife as crews work to contain unstable hillsides and keep toxic debris from entering waterways.

The watershed of Mark West Creek, one of the Russian River’s most important Coho salmon spawning tributaries, was hit especially hard as the Tubbs Fire swept across the pocket of hills several miles northeast of Santa Rosa. Here, rainfall could wash vast amounts of debris into creeks and smother the gravel beds where the endangered salmon lay and fertilize their eggs each winter.

Waterways in the valleys to the east will be similarly impacted – especially Sonoma Creek, where a remnant population of endangered steelhead trout still spawns, and the Napa River, habitat for several salmonids, including Chinook salmon, according to Matt St. John, an executive officer of the North Coast Regional Water Quality Control Board.

LINK (via: Water Deeply)


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