And that… is how two months go by without a single blog update, or hardly a word written.  I blame work – but then, so does every struggling writer when they are struggling to write.

This will be quick today; just wanted to jot this idea down before I forget it, perhaps to be returned to later.  

Some facts:

Fact:  The White Sturgeon, Acipensur transmontanus, is an anadromous fish, meaning that it lives in freshwater, but migrates to saltwater to spawn.  In layman’s terms, it’s sort of an anti-salmon.  Or rather, an anti-steelhead, since it spawns multiple times in its life.  One imagines sturgeon and steelhead passing each other with a knowing look, each heading opposite directions, up and down the salinity gradient, but with very much the same destination in mind.

Fact:  Acipensur transmontanus, according to Wikipedia which I presume is now the definitive source for all matters icthyological, can live up to 104 years.

Fact:  The Hiren M. Chittendam locks – the system of locks that  makes it possible for large ships pass back and forth between Puget Sound and Lake Washington – became operational in 1917.  The locks come equipped with a salmon ladder – but not a sturgeon ladder.  Far as I know, when they were built, that was the end of sturgeon moving back and forth between the lake and the sound.  

sturgeon

The boater who found it “first thought it was a shark”. Now that would be interesting: bull sharks in Lake Washington? Don’t tell the SeaFair committee!

So:  does that not then mean that the youngest remaining sturgeon in Lake Washington is now 96 years old?  Such that, in a decade, the last of the Methuselah fish will have died?  The one in the picture above was found dead back in August.  I wonder how many are left?

Perhaps I’m wrong about this.  I have read that some sub-populations of this fish can in fact breed in freshwater, when forced to do so – though you do have to wonder about minimum viable population sizes even in that case.  Certainly I hope I’m wrong!  It’s a comfort to imagine these ancient creatures, somehow still managing to make a go of it, hidden away beneath the jet-skis and seaplanes.

Still, I wonder.  If they are doomed to local extinction, I wonder about the exact moment when the last one dies.  Will it happen during a rush hour commute, as tens of thousands make their busy way back and forth across our floating bridges?  Will there be some psychic nudge, interrupting just for a moment that never-ending rush from home to cubicle and back?  

Will just one person pause in their text messaging, just for an instant, and feel – just for a second – the loss of something magnificent that used to be?  

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