Dialogue on Dams
by Susan Saul
Study of the Lower Snake River dams is not wasteful. Even Idaho's Rep. Mike Simpson says, "You cannot address the salmon issue without addressing dams."
The recovery goal for wild spring/summer chinook is 80,000 returning adults over the uppermost Lower Snake River dam. In 2017, 4,108 wild chinook crossed Lower Granite Dam.
The recovery goal for Snake River wild steelhead adults is 90,000. In 2017, 4,108 wild chinook crossed Lower Granite.
The recovery goal for Snake River sockeye is 2,500 wild adults. In 2018, 13 wild sockeye reached their spawning grounds in Idaho's Stanley Basin.
Clark Public Utilities purchases power from Bonneville Power Administration. We ratepayers have spent over $16 billion on Columbia Basin salmon/steelhead recovery, but fish numbers are going down. Recovery efforts are not bringing back healthy, sustainable populations.
Fish scientists say that unless the Lower Snake River is returned to natural flow, those salmon and steelhead will go extinct. The Legislature's appropriation will bring all stakeholders together to find ways to mitigate the impacts of breaching the dams, an option already part of a court-ordered federal environmental review expected to be done next year. This dialogue is one of the recommendations of Gov. Jay Inslee's orca task force.
Salmon Runs by Don Chapman, Idaho Statesman, 5/31/19
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