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It's About Dam Time

by Carson King
Post Register, June 8, 2022

Pacific salmon and steelhead are
a lifeblood for Idaho and Washington.

In retrospect, the number of returning adult salmon was relatively level from 1938 through 1990.  The precipitous loss of returning chinook entering the Snake River (Figure 20) accounts for a major share of the decline that has occurred in total return to the Columbia -- Artificial Production Review, NW Power & Conservation Council Pacific salmon and steelhead populations are on the brink of extinction. Last year, Congressman Mike Simpson released his bold, science-backed, Columbia Basin Initiative that has since been acknowledged by tribal nations, grassroots organizations and other lawmakers in the Pacific Northwest. With Gov. Inslee and Sen. Murray's plan coming this June, it is increasingly important to pressure our lawmakers into making decisions that benefit the region's future.

Pacific salmon and steelhead are a lifeblood for Idaho and Washington. Returning hundreds of miles inland to central Idaho, they supply the perfect combination of marine-derived nutrients that benefit streams, riparian zones, forest floors and over 137 other species. Salmon are also a cultural lifeblood for tribal nations and have been promised to them through indigenous treaties.

Idaho is one of the only remaining cold, clean and viable locations for salmon and steelhead recovery, but the fish are struggling to get there. The only solution is clear: Breach the four lower Snake River dams.

Idaho isn't alone in this -- Washington is hurting too. These outdated dams don't supply equitable power, the river economy is non-existent, Bonneville Power is losing money and southern resident orcas are dying at an alarming rate.

The time to act is now. We need Pacific Northwest lawmakers to step up and work together to save this species that so many of us rely on. I urge all readers to contact Washington's Sen. Murray and Gov. Inslee in favor of breaching the four lower Snake River dams to provide a lasting solution for the entire region.

Carson King, Pocatello
It's About Dam Time
Post Register, June 8, 2022

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