In coming to understand the natural and human forces shaping the rivers and mountains of the Pacific Northwest, geologist David Montgomery learned to see the evolution and near-extinction of the salmon as a story of changing landscapes. An integral part of the region's rivers and seas, the salmon that symbolize the Northwest's natural splendor are now endangered, either gone or threatened with extinction across much of their ancestral range. Montgomery shows how a succession of de facto historical experiments-first in the United Kingdom, then in New England, and now in the Pacific Northwest-followed a similar story in which overfishing and sweeping changes to the landscape rendered the world inhospitable to salmon. In King of Fish, Montgomery traces the human impacts on salmon over the last 1000 years and examines the implications for both salmon recovery efforts and the more general problem of human impacts on the natural world. What does it say for the long-term prospects of the world's endangered species if one of the most prosperous regions of the richest country on earth cannot accommodate its icon species? All too aware of the possible bleak outcome for the salmon, King of Fish concludes with provocative recommendations for reinventing the ways in which we make environmental decisions about land, water, and fish.
ABOUT THE AUTHOR:
David R. Montgomery is Professor of Geomorphology at the University of Washington. His research focuses on landscape evolution, including the impact of erosion and sedimentation on biological systems. A member of advisory committees to governmental bodies and private organizations dedicated to protecting rivers and wildlife, Montgomery lives in Seattle with his wife Anne, and his field assistant Xena, a black lab-chow mix.