The salmon that symbolize the Pacific Northwest's natural splendor are now threatened with extinction across much of their ancestral range. In studying the natural and human forces that shape the rivers and mountains of that region, geologist David Montgomery has learned to see the evolution and near-extinction of the salmon as a story of changing landscapes. Montgomery shows how a succession of historical experiences -first in the United Kingdom, then in New England, and now in the Pacific Northwest -repeat a disheartening story in which overfishing and sweeping changes to rivers and seas render the world inhospitable to salmon. In King of Fish , Montgomery traces the human impacts on salmon over the last thousand years and examines the implications both for salmon recovery efforts and for the more general problem of human impacts on the natural world. What does it say for the long-term prospects of the world's many 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.
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.