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a public library for anyone interested in the plight of Idaho's wild Salmon & Steelhead

RedFish BlueFish script, songs, preview & order
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Lesson Plans

We ask educators to submit lesson plans for others to use in their curriculum.

Humanities - A (Rough) River Guide, by Ryan Waterfield

Cycles, Symbolism, Philosophy - K-12th Grade, by Scott Levy

Civics - Classroom Based Assessment, by Stephanie Bollen, Brier Elementary & Susan Lockhart, Maplewood K-8

Mathematics - Reading Tables of Information, by Scott Levy

Discussion Forum:
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Fred Mensik asks an important question: Recover from What?

Overharvest of sockeye in Alturas Lake started in the late 1800s. Then, the waters exiting Alturas Lake were diverted and used extensively for irrigation. Alturas Lake was the first of the Stanley Basin lakes to have the sockeye salmon exterminated, occurring before the turn of the century. A commercial fishery was established in the Stanley Basin, supplying sockeye to the miners (Chapman 1990). In 1881, approximately 2,600 lbs. of sockeye salmon were harvested from Alturas Lake by Frank Parks (Evermann 1896). However, by 1896, no large sockeye were seen in Alturas Lake (Evermann and Meek 1898).

"Any outmigrant smolts from Alturas Lake probably are of Kokanee ancestry, since no anadromous runs to Alturas Lake have been recorded in recent decades" (Draft Snake River Salmon Recovery Plan, 1993, pp. VII-5).
Between 1909 and 1910, the Golden Sunbeam Mining Company built a dam on the Salmon River which blocked salmon passage on the Salmon River from reaching the Stanley Basin. In 1920, a fish ladder was completed on the dam, but successful fish passage was either doubtful or improbable (Chapman 1990).

In 1934, the rock abutment on the south side of the dam was blown out (Hauck 1955). Reports state that irreparable damage to sockeye runs had already occurred by 1934. From 1912 until 1934, the Sunbeam Dam prevented adequate numbers of sockeye salmon from reaching their historic spawning ground. Even with partial removal, the Idaho Department of Fish and Game (IDFG) identified that the Sunbeam Dam continued to be a fish passage problem (IDFG 1958). After the south side of the dam was destroyed, snagging continued until the State of Idaho passed laws in 1944, intending to eliminate snagging. Unfortunately, the snagging between 1934 and 1940s continued to deplete the small run that existed (Chapman 1990).

"Approximately 200 spawners were observed on the bar on October 7 and 8, 1942. These fish spawned in water only 2 feet deep and from within 15 feet of the shore on out into water 6-8 feet deep and 50 yards off shore where the bottom becomes softer as the water becomes deeper" (Summary Report for Bureau of Fisheries Stream Habitat Surveys: Clearwater, Salmon, Weiser, and Payette River Basins, 1934-1942, pp. 300-301).
Idaho's position on Stanley Basin sockeye was stated by Forrest Hauck in 1955.
"The first account of the return of blueback was in 1942 when a survey team of the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service observed about 200 spawning in Redfish Lake.

"In 1953, schools of blueback were observed in the Salmon River below Stanley and a survey of the lake in October gave an estimated spawning population of about 2 to 3 thousand.

"What value do they have in our sport fishery? Very little. Aside from the fact that they die upon spawning and, consequently, add to lake fertility, they have little value because they do not readily take a hook. This may contribute directly to the kokanee fishery in the lake, but this is questionable. They do have an aesthetic value because of their interesting life history and light coloration during spawning when they are observed by many interested spectators" (Hauck, Forrest R., Return of the Big Redfish, Idaho Wildlife Review, May- June 1955).

Stanley Lake was the first of the Stanley Basin lakes chosen for fish eradication.
"Stanley Lake was treated with "Fish-Tox" in the fall of 1954 to eradicate the fish population which consisted of squaw- fish, whitefish, kokanee and a few trout. It remained toxic during 1955. In July of 1956, approximately 20,000 rainbow fry, 40,000 rainbow fingerling and 2,000 10- to 12-inch rainbow trout were stocked in Stanley Lake and tributaries. Fishing success was excellent during the remainder of the 1956 season" (State of Idaho Department of Fish and Game, Idaho Fish and Game Commission Annual Report, 1956).
Then, a fish migration barrier dam was constructed to prevent fish from Sockeye from returning to Stanley Lake and spawning.
"The channel below the migration-block dam constructed in the outlet of Stanley Lake during the fall of 1954 was widened and deepened and the dike and riprap behind the wings of the dam strengthened after high spring runoff of 1956" (State of Idaho Department of Fish and Game, Idaho Fish Game Commission, 1956).
Pettit Lake was next on the fish eradication agenda, followed by Yellowbelly Lake.
"Pettit Lake (400 surface acres, maximum depth 175 feet) was treated with 0.01 ppm of emulsified toxaphene in September, 1960, to eliminate populations of squaw fish and suckers from the lake and evaluate the length of time infertile lakes such as this would remain toxic to fish. Live fish were still present in deeper parts of the lake two months after treatment, but by spring of 1961 no live fish could be found. All fish placed in live boxes in the lake periodically during 1961 and 1962 have died within a period of one to three weeks. Live box tests conducted in the fall of 1962 indicated the lake was still toxic. A fish migration block bar- rier has been constructed on the outlet to prevent unwanted species from re-entering the lake through the outlet" (Idaho Department of Fish and Game, Fish and Game Commission Annual Report, 1962).

"Yellowbelly Lake (190 surface acres, maximum depth 82 feet) was treated with 0.008 ppm of emulsified toxaphene in September of 1961. Live box tests conducted in the fall of 1962 indicated that this lake was still toxic to fish also." (Idaho Fish and Game Department, Annual Report, 1962).

Ice Harbor, the first dam on the Lower Snake River, was completed in 1961.
"A concrete migration barrier dam was constructed on the outlet of the lake during September and October of 1963." (Idaho Department of Fish and Game, Fish and Game Commission Annual Report, 1963).
A two-way weir was operated on Redfish Lake Creek between 1954 and 1968 (Bjornn et al. 1968). Adult sockeye returns were 4,361 in 1955. These were returning fish that were in the ocean when Stanley Lake was poisoned in 1954. The lake remained poisonous in 1955. But these returning sockeye could not get to Stanley Lake because of the migration barrier built in 1954. Subsequently, as habitat removal progressed, the number of returning sockeye to the Stanley Basin dwindled to only 11 in 1961 (Kline and Younk 1995).

Additional damage was done to the Stanley Basin sockeye by the introduction of out-of-basin sockeye and kokanee, diminishing their genetic integrity (Bowles, E. C., Potential Sockeye Salmon Production in Alturas Lake Creek Drainage, Idaho, 1984).

"The introduction of non-native sockeye stocks into Stanley Basin lakes began in 1940 and the introduction of non-native kokanee stocks as early as 1921. Matings between kokanee and sockeye has been observed by McCart" (McCart, P. Polymorphic population of Oncorhynchus nerka in Babine Lake. Ph.D. thesis, Univ. British Columbia, Vancouver, B.C., 1970).

"The present stock of sockeye salmon spawning in Redfish Lake is probably not genetically identical to the indigenous stock because of an interrupted passage to the lake during the early 1900s" (Bjornn, T. C., Craddock, D. R., Corley, D. R. (1968) Migration and Survival of Redfish Lake, Idaho, Sockeye Salmon Oncorhynus nerka. Transactions of American Fisheries Society, 97:4, 360-373).

In 2015, rainbow trout were planted in the Alturas, Stanley, and Yellowbelly lakes to as part of a put-and-take sport fishery that would generate fishing license revenues. Bull trout, rainbow trout, brook trout, and northern squawfish are piscivorous, which means, they eat other fish. These fish are also in Redfish Lake (Kline, P., Younk. J., Research and Recovery of Snake River Sockeye Salmon, 1994). The IDFG Web site identifies that Stanley Lake fishing includes rainbow trout, kokanee, and lake trout. It is recorded in 1984 that catchable rainbow trout were planted annually in Alturas Lake.

In 1984, there was only a 40 percent sockeye fry survival rate due to predation (Bowels, E. C., Potential Sockeye Salmon Production in Alturas Lake Creek Drainage, Idaho, 1984).

Millions of dollars has been spent on the Captive Broodstock Program, which includes expanded hatchery production. Therefore, introducing pan-size predatory fish for a put-and-take fishery into sockeye salmon nursery lakes appears to be a management decision that is contrary to the effort of saving Stanley Basin sockeye.

In 2015, adult sockeye returning from the ocean were collected at the Lower Granite Dam Adult Trap to be transported to the Stanley Basin Sockeye Broodstock Program. Of the sockeye collected, 30 percent were found to be Columbia River sockeye that had strayed up the Snake River, successfully climbing three fish ladders at Lower Snake River dams, and trapped at the Lower Snake River Adult Trap. The Idaho Department of Fish and Wildlife had these fish euthanized.

The intentional elimination of Stanley Basin sockeye started years before the completion of Lower Snake River dams. However, culpability has been diverted to those dams.

1993-"The broodstock program is a 'stop-gap' measure until migration habitat improvements can be implemented to increase survival" (Redfish Lake Sockeye Salmon Captive Broodstock Rearing and Research, Annual Report, 1993).

1994-"The Idaho Department of Fish and Game Sawtooth Fish Hatchery, constructed to mitigate for Lower Snake River hydroelectric dams, began recording adult sockeye salmon returns in 1985" (Kline, P., Younk, J., Research and Recovery of Snake River Sockeye Salmon, 1994).

2006-"Thus, sustainable increases in population abundance will only be achieved if the underlying causes of the population's decline are addressed" (Snake River Sockeye Salmon Captive Broodstock Program Research Element, IDFG Report Number 06-01, January 2006).

2015-In the Captive Broodstock Annual Report, Idaho's culpability continues to be denied and blame is divered, with the statement that the Sawtooth Fish Hatchery "utilized continuously since 1991 for various aspects of the Sockeye Salmon captive broodstock program" to "mitigate" for Lower Snake River dams (IDFW 2015 Captive Broodstock Annual Report).

Today, the theology is that the effects of lake poisoning are long, long ago and no longer are of concern to the salmon biologists because it is not impeding sockeye their recovery. Blame for declining sockeye numbers has been put on Lower Snake River dams that were not in existence when the eradication of Stanley Basin sockeye began.

We must ask ourselves, "If the poisonings and migration barriers that took these fish to the brink of extinction happened a long time ago and are not impeding their recovery, then, from what negative impacts are we trying to recover these fish from? Recover from What?"

(bluefish recommends related pages by John McKern, Bill Rudolph, John McKern and "Whistling Past the Tombstones" by Fred Mensik.)


Matt: It boggles my mind that people still don't understand that losing salmon isn't like losing Minnow Pike, mosquitoes or hair. Salmon's role in our ecosystem is so multifaceted its loss will have micro and macro biological effects. We are loosening the pin on a link in our food chain. What happens when the salmon link is gone? (see keystone.htm)

Despite good intentions it appears that what is currently being done by all parties involved to save the salmon i.e., BPA, ACOE, bluefish, tribes, land owners, etc, it isn't working. Without returning the LSR back to free flowing and no obstructions or spending a lot of money to improve dam diversion, it seems inevitable that Idaho's wild salmon will perish.

Cdawg: The only difference between what man has done to reduce wild salmon populations on the Snake River and the Northwest tributaries and what the Taliban did on 9/11 to the US and the World Trade Center is ignorance. Unlike the attacks of 9/11, which were intentional, the decimation of wild salmon due to dams and man's ever growing need to progress technology at any cost was not. Now that we are aware of the impact of our progression, ignorance is no longer an excuse.

Powells: Is the government stocking bass/trout and other fish that eat the young salmon where they first grow in fresh water as they are doing so in the East? Fewer small salmon equal fewer adult salmon. Getting rid of fishing licenses for bass/trout will reduce their numbers in lakes and streams. The stocking of fish that eat the small salmon needs to end..........on the east coast as well.

Bill Horton of IDF&G replies: Idaho Fish & Game (IDF&G) has stocked trout in anadromous waters for more than 50 years. That program has been reduced greatly in the last 20 years as we have evaluated the value of trout stocking in streams. Almost our entire trout stocking now occurs in lakes or reservoirs.

We stock a nominal number of rainbow trout into the upper Salmon near Stanley to provide a fishery. We had to go through a permitting process from the National Marine Fisheries Service (NMFS) to continue to do so. Studies on trout over winter survival, and stomach analysis for food habits were conducted in the mid-1990s. We could not find trout surviving until December in those waters. While analyzing the contents of hundreds of trout caught by anglers, we found evidence of very minor fish eating habits of our stocked trout

IDF&G also stocks small number of small rainbow trout in the lower Salmon and lower Clearwater Rivers each year. This provides a fishery for anglers seeking trout in those areas during the summer, as most salmon and steelhead have headed to the ocean as smolts. Several years of sampling have shown that an exceptionally low number of fish are eaten by these trout.

NMFS has determined that our resident trout stocking program does not have a population effect on listed salmon and steelhead.

Bass were first introduced in the 1880s before Idaho was a state. IDF&G has not stocked bass directly into anadromous waters in decades. In the early 1990s IDF&G removed the minimum size limit on bass in anadromous waters, so anglers can take any size bass.

RHiggs: Frankly, before you start tearing things down on the Eastside of the State, why don't clean up your side. How many streams and how much habitat has been filled or paved over with all the development over there? After you tear down your malls, freeway, sport stadiums and 80% of your housing developments, then you can start talking about tearing down dams. After all, you won't need the power anymore.

May Eighth: How do dams effect salmon?

Government Accounting Office (GAO): Salmon and steelhead face numerous obstacles in their efforts to complete their life cycle. For example, to migrate past dams, juvenile fish must either go through the dams' turbines, go over the dams' spillways, use the installed juvenile bypass systems, or be transported around the dams in trucks and barges. Each passage alternative has associated risks and contributes to the mortality of juvenile fish.

To return upstream to spawn, adults must locate and use the fish ladders provided at the dams. Once adults make it past the dams, they often have to spawn in habitat adversely affected by farming, mining, cattle grazing, logging, road construction, and industrial pollution.

Reservoirs formed behind the dams cause problems for both juvenile and adult passage because they slow water flows, alter river temperatures, and provide habitat for predators, all of which may result in increase mortality.

Other impacts, such as ocean conditions and snow pack levels, also affect both juvenile and adult mortality. For example, an abundant snow pack aids juvenile passage to the ocean by increasing water flows as it melts.
(Also see Survival of Downstream Migration for percentages.)

Frank: Once entering the mouth of the Columbia, what % of the adults return to their Idaho homeland to spawn?

Lance Hebdon of IDF&G replies: About 36% of adult sockeye entering the Columbia River survive to spawn. We estimate that 95% of the sockeye which pass Bonneville Dam survive to McNary Dam. We estimate that 76% of the sockeye that pass McNary survive to Lower Granite Dam. The average survival for sockeye salmon observed at Lower Granite Dam then observed at the Stanley Basin is 50%, this number has fluctuated lower and higher, in 2000 the survival rate was closer to 70% (see countfpc.htm & broodsto.htm). The adult numbers generally reported on websites like the fish passage center or Columbia River DART, don't include video counts which are done at night and during the 10 minute breaks that fish counters take during the day, so its not even entirely accurate to look at numbers posted on the web and estimate a survival based on adult sockeye observed at the basin.

Make Sense Dumass: 2004 salmon season- 4 years have passed with good runs. This year the commercials quotas went up with the projections! So have the sea lions and the quotas of the commercials. Back to the comfort zone for the Politicians. Idaho Power, Bonneville power, etc. You would think the Pacific runs were in check according to the seasons at the mouth of the Columbia. As Americans we just don't learn. The Canadians put it down for 5 years not so much as a fishing rod in the water. But we get an extra 100k fish and right back to it, the economy sucks maybe it will create some more jobs, &%$$((&$hit! with a capitol $$$$$$! These fish are a resource, not a quantifiable watt of power or $$$$$. We need to get it across don't mess with the resource it is so volatile, if you could measure it by the gallon to power the country it would be over 2000$ a pound per capita. Get out of State house and look at the bank of the river governors! The resource is more valuable than gold. Don't piss on it, put it on your bandwagon and make your audience know you care in a time of need. It doesn't cost a dam thing to strengthen the water with wild fish. Pull the trollers and put something on the ballot that will save the Pacific Northwest's heritage! Sushi or No sushi, the fish are getting a raw deal. Let the #'s pass then open the dam commercial seasons, watch the voter turnout grow along with the resource! One more time, Make sense dumbass's not nonsense! By the way buy some votes and save a species during an election year, hell any efforts better than what the feds can do, what a low-grade pony show! Federal regulation, what a joke! When was the last time a salmon ran into DC without 18 wheels attached! This could be your year.

HASJ: Y'all are f####ng fruits for caring so much.

Bob Guess: Interesting topics. I grew up on the Columbia at Lyle, WA. Moved there in 1952, before dam at The Dalles was built. Fished in rapids and falls at Celilo Falls for several years with my Dad. You could almost walk across the river on backs of salmon and steelhead for couple of months each Spring. Unbelievable numbers of fish each year made it past Bonneville.

Generating hydrogen with unused water energy seems a good idea. Why wouldn't non-peak curtailments of power be taken in fossil burning plants instead of hydropower though? Does hydropower capacity exceed entire demand of Northwest at night?

Make Sense Dumass: More wars have been won with strength than lack of. May the salmon stay forever and their strength be known! Dams or no dams they are coming back, quit your bitching and do your part to contribute. Vote for a republican in Washington State and Oregon. Go to the polls and vote for your fish. The Lower Columbia holds the fate of these fish and Gary Locke needs to be removed not the dams! Idaho has the water to rear these fish but without good leadership in Oregon and Washington the fish will never make it back to Idaho! Dams or no dams! You want fish vote for leadership that dictates shorter commercial seasons at the mouth of the columbia! Let the fish pass that we need first then open the seasons! make sense dumass not nonsense!

Insane: What the heck is the big deal with Salmon? I mean seriously, they are coming back. they are doing fine. And the people who are saying that Wild Salmon and Hatchery Salmon are completely different, WTF? That is BS. They have the same DNA, same instincts, etc. I say that we just keep doing what we are doing and leave the matter alone.

Moon: What the hell is going on? To let a cool Redfish lake group go extinct, should be a crime! What would be a good number to return? I love to fish for kokanee, in Washington state. What is the historical high been for the return of Redfish lake?

Doug replies: Based on paleolimnological and primary productivity models the historic adult escapement to Redfish Lake was 10,000 - 35,000. The paleolimnoligical work indicated that a peak of near 35,000 occurred around the early 1700's, and ranged from ten to mid twenty thousands prior to that time. Remember, Pettit, Alturas, and Stanley lakes also had sockeye return to them. IDF&G poisoned Pettit and Stanley lakes in the late 50's to early 60's and erected passage barriers below them which basically put an end to those runs. (current data at countfpc.htm & broodsto.htm)

Lough Neagh , Northern Ireland: Greetings to our Brothers and Sisters of THE SALMON from " The Gan Cearta Tribe " the Indigenous Native Irish Fisher People of LOUGH NEAGH . Our People have harvested and Distributed THE SALMON from Antiquity till the third of July Year 1661 . On this Day all of Our Ancient Irish Collective Fishing Rights were DELETED by the Issue of a Royal War Reward Charter to an English Lord whose Family still hold us in Legal Servitude as we still have till pay THE RENT for Permission to fish in our Forefathers Lough [ LAKE ] .We aspire to the Return of our 102,790 acres Lake .

bighippi: I am responding to your article on the shooting up of Chiloquin, Oregon by white racists. My name is Sonja & I live in Chiloquin, I was the first person to call the police when the shooting started & (the Klamath County DA after that.)The fir tree in my yard was blown away& my 12 year old son(who is white)was shot at.The shooters truck stopped to RELOAD IN MY YARD & WHEN I LOOKED OUT THE WINDOW HE LOOKED ME IN THE FACE,& BLEW AWAY MY TREE. I was the only person to correctly identify the Shooter as an INDIAN, something that our DA, FLOYD HESCOCK & THE MEDIA chose to overlook because"oh the poor picked on Klamath Tribe" NOT!!! The SHOOTER was a WARM SPRINGS INDIAN kid who was working on a relatives ranch in Bonanza, OR. For the record the Klamath Tribe are the MOST RACIST, HATEFUL & VIOLENT PEOPLE, I have EVER MET.Living in Chiloquin is a NIGHTMARE,& the KLAMATHS ARE ALL LIARS when they say WHITE people shot up the town.I KNOW, I WAS THERE & SAW THE WHOLE THING.

Tamara: Ecosystems must be kept in balance for the great mother to stay in balance. Man thinks of short term profit instead of long term gain. Dam breaching may not be the whole answer to the depletion of the salmon runs but it would certainly be a beginning to their return. Yes, we as humans must make life changes that will be extreme for some and simple for others. Change is good!!! Education is the key to change. Redfish Bluefish touched my heart. May your day be blessed and may your passion be held high in the saving of our earth.

"Humankind has not woven the web of life. We are but one thread within it. Whatever we do to the web, we do to ourselves. All things are bound together. All things connect."
-- Chief Seattle

FordRacing03: You are a f###ing retard and you might need to come and see the actual operations going on in these lands around here. Enviro's need to find something else to do besides trying to mess up the economy and the wildlifes' health.

NoName:You bunny huggers need to get off the cushion and get out into the outdoors and become educated. As for dam breaching, the best thing which could come of it would be your inability to log on and preach your uneducated sheltered rhetoric.

Green Man: Question, have any of you ever thought of what you would have to give up from your life if the dams were breached? ALOT! For one flood control and all that cheap electricity, actually the cheapest in the US, The salmon are important, but there are millions of species in the world, so why would you breach the dams for such a small population, we should just keep doing what we are doing, and it is working... The dams will keep giving us the benefits what we need while we keep the salmon project going and bringing up the population.

John Rosenthal: We are all of us all the time coming together and falling a part. The point is we are not rocks. Who wants to be one anyway; impermeable, unchanging, our history already played out.

BP: What we need is a good old fashioned plague. Something on the order of the one Europe experienced during the dark days of the "Black Plague." Now there's a solution I could live (or maybe not), with. Cull the herd so to speak. As long as "we' continue consuming, producing gas guzzling SUV's regardless of poor fuel economies (proven), burning ever more scarce petroleum reserves, and coal's increasing popularity as a 'cheap' alternative to more power from hydro, we're going to see fewer attempts to breach the dams of the Northwest. Salmon? Where? When we've only read about them, and the last carcass is displayed in a museum somewhere, only then will we realize the truth about ourselves...and by then it'll be much too late. Meantime, I'll pray for the Bubonic demons to return...

Z: Are there as many numbers as there are atoms in the universe? Or . . . Are there as many centimeters between all the subatomic particles in the universe as there are numbers? and . . .would that number fit in this room? How much would it weigh? As much as a black hole? and how would we know?

Spawned from Dam Nation: Reservoirs of Controversy
Intellectual Capital 6/8/00

6/11/00 12:43:34 PM- Mister Know-it-all
anon, so glad you are available to distinguish "good" from "bad" uses of electricity. However, once your conservation polices have eradicated the dreaded "instant on" circuit, I am afraid you will find some other "bad" uses to pursue. I do not question your numbers. But once you have imposed enough conservation to balance the 4 dam breachings, what will be next? Enough conservation to breach even more dams? To shut down nuclear power plants? To end the consumption of fossil fuels?

6/11/00 3:31:32 PM- Gotcha
liberliarwatch (whatever): I do believe you are seriously mistaken. The four Snake River dams come nowhere near producing five percent of the energy of the western U.S. You sir or ma'm, are the liar!

(bluefish interjects: 4-5% of the "Pacific Northwest electricity" would be an accurate statement. See electric.htm)

. . . more . . .

Spawned from Returning River to Salmon, and Man to the Drawing Board
New York Times 9/26/99

dliedlich: As humanity continues to occupy and degrade more of the Earth, we must ask ourselves which species we want to save. We have been responding belatedly and doing the "triage" technique like Army medics. This type of "seat of the pants" efforts at species recovery is not sound though. Biologists and scientists need to be more proactive in identifying species before they become "on the edge" of extinction.

There is no question about the root cause for the demise of wildlife species worldwide. There are far too many humans, and the collective impact of humanity on the environment and wildlife is staggering. The first question that we need to ask ourselves is: "How do we bring less humans into this world." Until we can reduce our human populations, the trend of wildlife species decline and disappearance will only get worse.

bettywoerner1: I worked for the Army Corps of Engineers, Hydroelectric design for 25 years. The Federal Government is only stringing the public out to keep their dying organization alive and busy. ( -

The technological fixes they have tried are all for naught and it is high time to get on with the removal of the dams. - Peace

markk46b: While congress dickers around deciding on the dams and survival of the salmon, the few remaining salmon seem likely to go extinct. According to numbers published of remaining salmon, they may be below critical survival levels.

I'm not sure what timetable nature runs on. Certainly it depends on circumstances, etc. I doubt Congresses timetable has much to do with whatever runs up and down the Columbia and Snake Rivers. I suspect there will be a vote, though.

. . . more . . .

Comments from viewers of RedFish BlueFish

Anonymous: I agree ˆ… we must restore Snake River salmon. The four Lower Snake River dams are the single biggest reason why only 4 fish returned to Redfish Lake in 1991, and only 1 (one!) fish returned last year, 1998. Scientists agree that partially removing the four dams, like the film points out that Sunbeam dam was removed in 1934, will restore Snake River chinook within 24 years. And bypassing the dams will bring huge economic benefits to the NW economy, in terms of fulfilling our treaty obligations, rebuilding devastated sportfishing economies, supporting fishing families, and improving recreation along the river. It's a no-brainer. We can have healthy salmon and a healthy economy. We just have to want to make the decision to do so.

Comments from iFilm viewers regarding RedFish BlueFish

Mark: Excellent film . . . has profound implications . . . and in some ways is a lead in to the Y2K issues that we have created for ourselves.

Martha: Wanted to let you know how much I enjoyed your documentary on dynamic systems theory. I like some of the Native American tribal philosophy, although I don't think that tribal peoples are innately more saintly than we are - we're all individuals, no matter where we land. You had some interesting spins on Descartes, which I enjoyed hearing about. I was not aware that he was as holistic in his theories as you state. It's interesting how much the dynamic states approach is mirrored also in Chinese philosophy like the Tao & the I Ching, which tends to be more my bag. I was just reading a book on the Tao, that mentions that the 64 kua conceived by Lao Tsu 5000 years ago is a 64-bit system. The book is called I Ching Life by some guy named wu wei. I'm not normally into 'hippie new age' philosophers, but I make an exception when they write about the Tao.

Sadly, my network experienced congestion right at the time you began a discussion of economics in your program. But I will try to revisit later to catch the end of your film. Did you choose single frames because you like slides, or because you figured it was the ultimate 'lossy compression'? Either way, I enjoyed it.

Many thanks for making it.

Then replying to bluefish's reply . . .

Martha: Thanks for your email. I heard about dynamic systems in a book by Klaus Mainzer titled Thinking In Complexity, Springer Publishing. I don't know what first gave me a clue in your movie as to dynamic systems - the idea was pretty immediate after watching for a couple of minutes. The Mainzer book is not a cozy read - it's pretty mathematical. I am one of those people who couldn't have told you a few years ago what a torus was (liberal arts major - not math), but it didn't slay me to read about it. I liked the Mainzer book a lot.

As to the mention of the 64-bit system exemplified in the I Ching's kua, I am sending you an email link to the 64 kua - the link is to some odd page that contains pictures of the 64 kua. The web page sounds pretty bizarre, but the pictures were good. I usually read about the I Ching in books by regular publishers. Understand that the pure I Ching is marred by being fuzzed up with a lot of added-on mumbo-jumbo over the years, some of it akin to fortunetelling. I tend to disregard all that added schlock, and just go with the basic I Ching book by Lao Tzu (sometimes called Fu Hsi).

This Web page looks like more new-agey magical stuff, which I cannot endorse. I do not believe that magic exists - although when I was a little kid I used to hope like heck it did. Life would have been so cool. I have acquaintances who are into all sorts of new age spiritual things, and I think it's kind of sweet, but benighted. Hey, I figure if it works for them, then what should I worry about? God knows I've got enough problems trying to get my multimedia web page project to work for a class I'm taking in the exceedingly slow quest to get my master's in something halfway decent. I've begun to think of this quest as iterative. It helps.

In the book I was reading about the kua, the guy goes on to say that the 64 kua also line up with the 64 combinations of DNA, but I dunno.

Best of luck moviemaking!

Bill Z: Sorry to point out such a glaring error, especially as your cited interest include Descartes (ie. Cartesian duality, dualism, the beginning of mind/bind separation). All of this was your beloved Rene's doing. You somehow confused him with Hegel or Berkley, what is perceived is, actually. Descartes did start out with the doubt of everything, but from there he went on to posit extended and unextended substances as the two major, and separate, aspects of the universe. Another thing, Newton's discovery of gravity wasn't the beginning of physicalism -- of numbers in the definite sense that you use them -- it was the end. Gravity is a non-causal law, it is a force, amechanistic and irrational. It just is. This shattered the conception of the world at the time and presaged the latter work in fields, relativity and such. Sorry, but I felt that your philosophical tone was completely subverted by these mistakes, though the movie, and it's gist, are important and urgent.

Comments from the Community School 9th Grade
whose curriculum includes RedFish BlueFish

Hannes: Though it sometimes takes a little while to realize, RedFish BlueFish was not so much about the fish as it was an allusion to, and maybe even a criticism of, us, humans, and the way we tend to perceive the world. Several times, the film brought up the ethical question of economics versus ecologics, numbers versus nature. There were visuals of a box, and we are in there and everything else is, but all around we are surrounded by emptiness. According to Newton, we are just matter in this huge space, bouncing and floating, all according to numbers, our life as a mathematical system. An opposing view, much more abstract but perhaps much more accurate, was RenŽ Descartes idea of a flowing universe. Descartes believed there could be no empty spaces, every movement by one thing would influence everything around it like ripples in a pond.

RedFish BlueFish asked us to look at the salmon issue not from Newton's perspective, but from one more like Descartes'. Everything we as humans do the river affects the fish, consequences radiating outward, the perspective becoming more and more blurred until we lose all sense of what is really happening. It's then that we need to take a step back and look at what exactly we're doing with ourselves, what we're doing with the fish.

Maybe there are also references to the near extinction of the salmon representing something similar in the human race. Not really an extinction of mankind as a species, but more an extinction of our minds, a deteriorating spiral we have sent ourselves into, and where it finally stops is going to determine our fate. We can only hope it doesn't stop too late, after the damage is done. Our conclusion, spiraling down to earth screaming mayday until contact and we're a scar on the landscape. Really, we just need to switch fields on our plane of thinking, get out of our empty space, full of numbers, and recognize that we have an impact on our surroundings, we do make a difference, for good or bad.

Sean: The Independent film, RedFish BlueFish, was one with many metaphors and much symbolism. Itˆ¢s purpose for production was to educate people about the damage that building dams does to the countryˆ¢s salmon population. Its metaphors however, went much deeper than that.

There was one main underlying theme that carried on throughout the entire film, and that was the fact that the salmon issue is a metaphor for life. The way we are starting to value our big cities and skyscrapers more than our natural resources, reflects what kind of people we are becoming. The film is a desperate cry, as well as a warning for the negative effects our capitalistic ways are having on the environment.

To help get the message across, the film utilizes Native Americans for much of the dialog and imagery. This is effective because these people have always held the environment in high regards and therefore lived successfully without harming the natural resources. The film has many scenes with an old Indian with a desperate look on his weathered face, revering about our wasteful ways and how the salmon need us. This is a very effective technique because it gives people a feeling of guilt which makes them think that it is their fault and they should do what they can to help the salmon.

Another technique that was very successful in making people realize what has gone wrong with society is the many pictures taken with time lapse photography. Particularly, the one scene with the bridge in it shows how we look like a bunch of ants running around trying to make a buck without taking time to realize the effects of our greedy ways. To me the bridge is a real metaphor for us scaring the ecosystem to advance in our little game of numbers. This can be seen because the bridge alters the natural state of the river and brakes it apart. The bridge, which was built for man, is constantly traveled upon by the busy ants who donˆ¢t think about their effect on other things.

Effects were another concept used to awaken people of the killing potential our dams have. The film specifically used the words of Descartes when he said that every cause has and effect and every effect is a cause in itˆ¢s self (actually a Moto Manche quote). This is constantly repeated throughout the film to pound in the fact that what we are doing has a devastating effect on our habitat. There is a scene with bouncing balls which this dialog is dubbed on which creates a real image of the cause and effect issue.

Perhaps the most moving scene in the film for me was when they showed a kayaker having fun in a river in its natural state and then he bumps up against a dam and ceases movement. This is a metaphor for how our greediness has put a stop to the wild and free things that used to be a part of our life. When watching this the viewer gets a sense of longing for the fish to be able to run free again and the river to flow wildly as it used to.

These are just a few of the metaphors and symbolisms used to effectively win the audience over in a quest to right the wrongs of capitalism. Along with the computer generated effects that have the connotations of the mind deciding what is right, the viewer is definitely feeling like the salmon issue needs a solution. These are the reasons why this film has been recognized and successful across the U.S. After I saw this film I felt like I should be a part of the efforts to restore the river to itˆ¢s natural state and finally, free the salmon.

Elke:RedFish BlueFish. This is the name of a film created by someone who wanted to put ideas out. He wanted to put out his own personal opinion, and he also put out non-biased information. His point throughout the film what that humans need to think before they change things on earth. They must think about the affect that the things that they do will have on other organisms. The film RedFish BlueFish deals directly with the issue of salmon extinction.

Salmon are becoming endangered because man has put dams along the Columbia River, which is their natural migratory path. This means that the salmon are not able to migrate as they would naturally and therefore die out. When humans put these dams along the Columbia, they were not thinking about the affect that it would have on the salmon, they were only thinking about the good that it would bring to themselves. We are willing to live in a world of individuals where everyone in willing to hurt others in order to benefit themselves. The film tries to help humans realize that they have to reevaluate and change their lives on earth so that they are more symbiotic. At this point we are more similar to a parasite which is living off of the earth than a helpful organism living in symbiosis with it. In the movie there were also more intellectual issues breached.

To directly take a quote which was used in the movie, "Every cause has an effect and every effect is in and of its self a cause." This quote deals very closely with this salmon extinction issue. In creating situations which make salmon in danger of becoming extinct, we create an effect which is also a cause. The effect of the salmon becoming rare is the cost it has on homeostasis of the natural balance. This will start a whole chain of causes and effects that will defiantly effect humans in very serious ways somewhere along its path.

The author has put his information and opinions across in a very convincing way. He used symbols and sounds in the background. When he was talking about people becoming too dependent on numbers and economy it shows a bridge with individual cars crossing. This signifies how we all become self reliant and unable to help eachother when we become too concerned with numbers. During the part where a man is talking about people too reliant on machines there is a motorboat heard in the background of a serene looking lake. This film was very effective in getting a point across and making people think about the way their existence effects others life on earth.

Ryan Waterfield: I teach 9th grade English at the Community School in Sun Valley, Idaho and I have used this film in my curriculum for the past 2 years with great success. Because we begin every year with a week long 9th grade trip down the Main Salmon River, I center my first unit on "River as Metaphor." We have invited Scott Levy in to meet with students and discuss his film. It's a great educational tool - the movie really got students thinking about symbolism and metaphor. Thanks Scott!

Comments from website

PBS/KSPS aired on May 14, 1999 from 12:30 AM to 1:30 AM a show called RedFish BlueFish. This was produced by various tribes and is probably the most distorted inflammatory piece of propaganda that I have witnessed to date. This piece was shown nationwide, not just locally. I have also since been told that this has been shown in some schools.

To get more information about this you can go to their webpage then you can look at the video script. You must realize that the video script was totally taken out of context and was narrated by a young Indian boy with alot of video of kayakers and white water.

Comments from a recipient of the video RedFish BlueFish

Jim: I viewed your film and wanted to write you about my impressions and about the things it made me think about.

My first impression were that the sound quality was poor and I thought you used speeded up time too freely. You have probably heard those criticisms before and I think they are both minor criticisms. I also think that your use of high speed photography helped with the feeling of compressed time. That there is no time to waste if we are to prevent the loss of salmon in Idaho was a powerful statement in the film and I thought that you felt it could not be overemphasized.

The film was well done and I especially liked the use of a youth as the narrator in the film. It gave the film a sense of innocence as well as focusing the film on the future. Those most affected by the demise of further species are the youth of the world who could be living in a much more sterile environment if we adults do not make changes that will stop the deletion of animals and plants in our world.

I particularly liked your message of a non separate non numerical world. I feel that we are all connected to each other and all living things on the planet as well as to our living planet. Whatever we do to one we do to all and the cumulative affects are felt by all. Whenever we try to separate things we end up with a myopic view of the repercussions of our actions. We especially lose the over all big picture of what we are doing to the whole when we remove ourselves from the whole.

This leads to what the film made me think about afterwards. I have long felt that we as Americans, and the rest of the world to a lesser degree, should be consuming our native species as food. What that means is that North Americans should be eating Bison, elk, deer, corn, potatoes etceteras. Those species that are native to the area will do better in their native area than imports. This means that we should do away with the herds of sheep and cattle that we now have grazing on our lands. Bison will gain weight on what is growing in the hills and valleys of our lands. So will all the other native species that used to thrive here. Cattle on the other hand have to be fattened on grain and antibiotics in order to flourish here. This is taxing to the land and to our health. I had never focused on the salmon before as part of this chain but when I started to think about them as part of the whole picture of how to best treat the land and people that live here I realized that salmon could be a very large part of the wholeness of how we treat the land and how we as a people feed ourselves. I thought about the Native Americans of the Pacific Northwest and the richly abundant lifestyles they had. A large part of that abundance came from the Columbia River and all its' tributaries, a huge ecosystem that we have tinkered with until it is now non functioning. I realize this would not be a popular idea with the public especially with the beef industry but it is something I feel should be done in order to heal the entire ecosystem in which we live. If we allowed the bison to surge in numbers and roam the prairies again we could stop growing large amounts of grain to feed cattle with. this practice is hard on the land and as stated earlier is hard on people. Letting the bison take back the Midwest would revitalize the tall grass prairies that were once in abundance here and allow other native species that were part of that ecosystem to return in increasing numbers. We would probably put a few farmers out of work but they could be shifted to working with the new industry of harvesting bison to feed America.

This also led me to think about genocide. You probably already realize that the bison were exterminated because it destroyed the ability of the plains Indians to survive on their own. It force them to rely on the Federal government for food and was part of the mass genocide that took place in the 1800's.

This genocide has continued as a federal policy up to the present. I think that the federal government without being totally aware was just continuing this policy when they built the dams on the Columbia. By building the dams the government insured that the Pacific Northwest tribes would no longer be able to subsist on fishing and so would cease to exist. This may not have been war in the classical sense, but when a society is deprived of the ability to live as they choose, then the society ceases to exist in the true sense of the word. The same thing continues to this day with federal policies that wish to place nuclear wastes on the lands of Native Americans. The economies of these people change and there culture changes and they cease to exist as viable exclusive cultures. Native Americans have felt the brunt of the nuclear fiasco that this country has foisted upon itself. Much of the uranium was dug by Native Americans and much of the suffering from the storage will be felt by Native Americans as the waste is stored on their lands and the residual radioactivity affects them and their children. Other evidence of this is that many tribes now exist through subsidies from gambling. They are not being the people they were or want to be they are being casino operators.

The reason I write all this is because your film allowed me to think of all of these things as connected. I think that the thought may have been there but I never connected the entire thing until I reflected on what I had just seen.

Anyway you will find enclosed the $25.00 you requested for the film. It was well worth it and I will assure you that other people will view this film.

I hope to hear back from you and wish you well in your future endeavors.

RedFish BlueFish script, songs, preview & order
Discussion forum
Library of topics from the film
Tutorial on the Salmon issue
Contact information
Award winning film RedFish BlueFish
each effect is itself a cause