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Commentaries and editorials

Salmon Have
a Dam Problem

by Kenneth Campbell
The Columbian, May 1, 2018

Water runs through spillway gates of Lower Monumental Dam on the Lower Snake River in southeastern Washington. Increased spills benefit salmon. Salmon go with the flow, just like some members of Congress. Rep. Jaime Herrera Beutler can't decide whether she wants to help salmon or hurt salmon. First, she introduces a bill to allow killing of sea lions since they kill and eat adult salmon. Then she co-sponsors a bill along with other Republicans to allow Columbia and Snake River dams to keep killing juvenile salmon when the young ones are migrating to the ocean — that's right now, by the way.

Every fishery scientist in the Northwest knows that the dams kill huge portions of young salmon if the fish are allowed to pass through the turbines. The more dams they have to pass, the more the population is reduced until there's little left to survive their ocean sojourn.

The only thing that can really help with all the dams in our system is reducing flows through turbines and spilling more water at the dams during this massive downstream migration. However, our representative opposes the spilling of water since we "need" cheap hydropower. What we really need is to quit decimating our salmon populations at the dams. And we need a congressional representative who gets it. Fishermen get it. The dams and the congresswoman are the problem.


Kenneth Campbell
Salmon Have a Dam Problem
The Columbian, May 1, 2018

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