Focus on Fixing Freshwater Habitatsby Kelley Brox
The Columbian, July 11, 2009
A July 7 Columbian story reported, "Study that says Snake dams don't stifle fish survival knocked." There's no question from fishery scientists that dams on the lower Snake and main stem of the Columbia are by far the biggest killer of endangered wild salmon and steelhead. It's no coincidence that the Bonneville Power Administration is funding a study to take the pressure off the hydropower system.
The study by David Welch of Kintama Research Corp. parrots BPA's consistent message that ocean conditions are the driver to salmon survival or mortality. They're a part of the equation, but ocean conditions have always been and always will be cyclical and largely beyond our control. The best way to ensure strong salmon returns in variable ocean cycles is to fix their freshwater habitat -- and the best available science shows us that restoring Columbia-Snake salmon habitat must include the removal of the four lower Snake River dams. With strong actions such as dam removal, salmon populations will be able to weather poor ocean cycles in good health and truly thrive when ocean conditions are good. I would rather have my money spent on real solutions such as dam removal, rather than on studies that keep us on the road to nowhere and salmon spiraling toward extinction.
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