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Commentaries and editorials

Dams Not Problem

by John Isley
The Observer, June 1, 2012

To the Editor:

Lately the local newspapers seem to be honoring Judge Redden for his work on endangered salmon rulings.

Judge Redden made lots of rulings on biological law based on poor information. He insisted that the government programs had to be rewritten to protect the fish. He and our state governor still believe dams need to be removed.

The dams on the Columbia and Snake rivers were supposedly endangering the runs of fish. During the same time, the Oregon Department of Fish and Wildlife planned to close several coastal hatcheries because the runs in the Alsea, Siletz and Nehalem were returning at dismal rates.

None of these coastal streams had or have a dam. If dams were the main problem, why were the coastal salmon and steelhead runs bad at the same time?

As I recall, all the rivers in northern Oregon and Washington had the same problem whether there were dams on the rivers or not.

Logic clearly shows that the dams did not cause the problem of low salmon adult returns.

Yes, they probably were part of the problem on rivers with dams. Yes, overharvest of forests, big city pollution and runoff were all part of the problem.

Why are the salmon and steelhead now returning in large numbers if government programs need to be rewritten?

Why are we having spring chinook fisheries in the Snake and John Day rivers?

I would like someone to answer the simple question: if dams were the primary cause of the low adult salmon returns, why were the returns also low on the rivers without dams and also the ones so close to the ocean?

Also, I would like to know how these record returns of fish are still endangered?

Related Pages:
Judge Finally Comes Clean on Dam Breaching Walla Walla Union Bulletin, 4/30/12

John Isley, Enterprise
Dams Not Problem
The Observer, June 1, 2012

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