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Fish and Farming Can Co-exist, and Here's How

by Bill Goodnight
Idaho Statesman, June 2, 2011

Little Goose Dam (USACE Digital Visual Library) I agree with Travis Jones' Reader's View, "We can have salmon and agriculture," in the May 22 Statesman. I just disagree on how to achieve that.

Jones cites numbers that appear to represent salmon recovery. However, less than a third of those fish runs are wild fish, which all scientists and courts agree are the only measure of recovery. Wild numbers are 5 percent of historical runs and 13 percent of pre-lower Snake dam counts.

Mr. Jones, who has a graduate degree in agricultural economics, feels free to throw out fish statistics. I have a graduate degree in fisheries, so let me throw out some agricultural numbers.

Idaho grain growers save about 5 cents per bushel shipping by barge. Wheat prices have increased more than $5 per bushel since 2000. So if 1 percent of that windfall were dedicated to alternative shipping, eliminating the primary Idaho need for the lower Snake dams, I would agree with Mr. Jones, we could have salmon and agriculture.

Related Pages:
Shipping Wheat: Truck or Barge? by Ken Casavant, Transportation Report 1995

Bill Goodnight, Boise
Fish and Farming Can Co-exist, and Here's How
Idaho Statesman, June 2, 2011

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