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Commentaries and editorials

FEEDBACK: Salmon Extinctions

by Jim Esch, USFWS, Boise
Columbia Basin Bulletin, February 8, 2008

Your story on salmon extinctions has an inaccuracy that I would like to comment on.

Hells Canyon Complex, built in the late 1950s and early 1960s, blocked several runs of salmon and steelhead, including the mainstem spawning population of fall chinook between Hells Canyon dam site and Swan Falls Dam, the Weiser River, Wildhorse River, Indian Creek, Pine Creek, Eagle Creek and several other small Snake River tributaries. However, the bulk of the upper Snake Basin had been blocked to anadromous fish prior to Hells Canyon Dam.

Going back some 60 years before Idaho Power built Hells Canyon Project, Swan Falls Dam built in 1901 by the Trade Dollar Mining Co. was the first of the mainstem Snake River dams and was a significant barrier for all anadromous species.

Bureau of Reclamation Projects and other irrigation and hydroelectric related dams on the Boise, Payette, Malheur, Powder and Owyhee Rivers all took their toll on salmon, steelhead and lamprey in the early 20th century before construction of Brownlee Dam was begun in 1956.

Related Pages:
Research Estimates Salmon Extinctions for Historical Baseline, Columbia Basin Bulletin, 2/1/8
FEEDBACK: Salmon Extinctions by Fred Mensik, Columbia Basin Bulletin, 2/8/8

Jim Esch, USFWS, Boise
FEEDBACK: Salmon Extinctions
Columbia Basin Bulletin, February 8, 2008

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