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Commentaries and editorials

Orcas: Removing Dams
is Best Hope of Survival

by Realia Harris
The News Tribune, June 7, 2019

Graphic: Annual average survival estimates for PIT-tagged yearling Chinook salmon hatchery and wild fish combined. Vertical bars represent 95% confidence intervals. There is no doubt that the southern resident orca is an iconic symbol of the Puget Sound, in addition to being a beautiful and captivating animal.

Unfortunately, there are only 75 left in the Sound, the lowest number in more than 30 years. These beautiful creatures are starving, so what can we do about it?

Though billions of dollars of taxpayer money have gone into attempts to remedy dwindling salmon populations, "fixes" like fish ladders have proven to be largely ineffective.

It is time to take more definitive action to save our orcas by removing dams and restoring salmon habitat along the lower Snake River.

Protecting these orcas is both personal and critical. If we cannot save our region’s most culturally significant creature from extinction, I’m afraid it may herald a grim future for the thousands of other species threatened by manmade environmental risks.

I want to believe we are a community that cares, and that we will invest in our future. I hope you will join me in reaching out to our U.S. senators to let them know how important our orcas are to us.

Realia Harris, Tacoma
Orcas: Removing Dams is Best Hope of Survival
The News Tribune, June 7, 2019

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