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Impending Extinction of Steelhead - Essay Example

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In the past few decades, we have seen unprecedented developments in human society especially in the field of Natural Sciences and Technology. Along with this development is the increasing awareness of the importance of the environment. Environmental issues are now gaining much public attention not only because of media exposure but also because it can be felt in the immediate surrounding.
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Impending Extinction of Steelhead
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Download file to see previous pages This is attributed to human activities. Along with the scientific developments came the human population explosion. Hundreds of habitats are being destroyed to serve as agricultural or residential lands. Excessive harvesting of animal meat has led to the decline of reproducing population. Irresponsible disposal of garbage and chemicals has further narrowed life opportunities for organisms.
This paper will explore on the reasons for impending extinction of the steelhead. It will also look at the measures taken by concerned entities in preventing this from happening. Our focus would be in the steelhead habitat in the Washington State. This paper is aimed at providing the reader knowledge of what is currently being done today to address the environmental problem.
Steelheads are characterized by a dark-olive color, shading to silvery-white on the underside with a heavily speckled body and a pink to red stripe running along their sides. They can reach up to 55 pounds (25 kg) in weight and 45 inches (120 cm) in length.
An adult female steelhead will prepare a redd (or nest) in a stream area with suitable gravel type composition, water depth, and velocity. It then deposits 4 to 5 eggs in "nesting pockets" within a single redd. The eggs hatch within 3 to 4 weeks.
The juvenile steelhead ...
It then deposits 4 to 5 eggs in "nesting pockets" within a single redd. The eggs hatch within 3 to 4 weeks.
The juvenile steelhead rears in the freshwater for 1 to 4 years before migrating individually to the open ocean. It stays in the marine environment for 1 to 5 years after which it returns to the freshwater streams and rivers of their birth in order to mate. This process is called anadromy. Unlike other Pacific salmonids, steelheads can spawn more than once and will but will again migrate through estuaries to the ocean.
Migrations can reach hundreds of miles as evidenced by a fish tagged in the Sea of Japan and caught six months thereafter in the Skagit River of northern Washington. Some streams host two runs of steelhead, a summer run (returning in summer and early fall and spawning in early to mid-winter) and a winter run (returning in early winter to late spring and spawning within this time frame).
FOOD
Young steelheads feed primarily on zooplankton. Adults feed on aquatic and terrestrial insects, mollusks, crustaceans, fish eggs, minnows and even other small fishes including other trout.

PREDATORS:

Fish, mammals, and birds are the primary natural predators of steelhead. Fish predators include the northern pike minnow, walleyes, and smallmouth bass, channel catfish, sculpins, white sturgeon and even some adult salmonids like adult bull trout, rainbow/steelhead trout, cutthroat trout, brook trout, and brown trout. Fish-eating birds present in the Upper Columbia Basin include great blue herons, gulls, osprey, common mergansers, American dippers, cormorants, Caspian terns, belted kingfishers, common loons, western grebes, black-crowned night herons and bald eagles. Mammalian ...Download file to see next pagesRead More
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