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Commentaries and editorials

Dams Only Part of the Problem

by Norman E. Ritchie
Letter to Editor, The Oregonian, May 9, 2005

Your May 4 story, "Drastic drop predicted for Columbia Chinook" was substantially right but (for one statement). Conservation groups don't blame dams for the entire drop in salmon.

The dams killed a lot of young salmon two years ago that would be returning now; they're one cause of the drop, but not the sole cause.

We contend that federal agencies seemingly squandered the recovery opportunity of the big wild salmon return in 2001. The offspring of 2001's salmon went to the ocean in 2003, and are returning now. So far, they're mostly not returning.

2003 was a poor water year, so river conditions were poor for that biggest crop of ocean-bound wild salmon in more than 20 years. The feds did next to nothing to improve them: no extra water or extra spill. Most fish were put in barges and trucks rather than given a safer river.

Norman E. Ritchie Co-president Association of Northwest Steelheaders
Dams Only Part of the Problem
The Oregonian, May 9, 2005

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