The Biggest Threats to Salmon Aren't Dams
by Terry Flores
Idaho Statesman, February 21, 2009
The self-proclaimed "council of elders" ("Salmon need help" Feb. 4) takes a well-trodden, misguided path in assessing salmon runs in the Columbia and Snake rivers and what needs to be done.
They blame dams, yet fail to address myriad challenges salmon runs face - ocean conditions and overfishing.
They fail to mention that returns of salmon have been among the highest on record in decades and that 2008 saw returns of sockeye to Idaho not seen in more than 50 years! Recent research indicates fish survivals are as high or higher in the dammed Columbia and Snake rivers as the undammed Fraser River.
Improvements to the federal hydropower system and operations already have dramatically upped fish survivals at a cost of nearly $10 billion: $20-$30 of a $100 electric bill for Northwest families and businesses goes to fish programs.
The Bonneville Power Administration has committed another $10 billion for salmon in the next decade, following a collaborative process of Northwest states and Indian tribes that considered the best available science to further improve salmon runs.
Meanwhile, the so-called council of elders is clearly out of touch with the latest science, apparently interested only in removal of the Snake River dams.
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