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Commentaries and editorials

In Salmon vs. Dams Debate,
History Will Side with Salmon

by Joe Paliani
Chinook Observer, March 17, 2020

Ice Harbor Dam (aerial photo - Salmon Recovery) I sit in dismay on my porch with the following headlines staring back at me: "Feds reject breaching Snake River Dams," (Chinook Observer, 3/4/20), "Wild salmon likely doomed by more talk," (the Astorian, 3/5/20, "Columbia, Snake River dams vital," The Daily News, 3/12/20, "Ingenuity needed on salmon," (the Astorian, 3/12/20.

The feds have sided with big business, big politicians, and weakling federal staff pawns, like those in the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers, the Bonneville Power Administration, and Bureau of Reclamation, all whom have conspired in jury-rigging their Environmental Impact Report to support the almighty dollar and greed, over the survival and imminent extinction of the salmon and steelhead in these rivers.

"Notoriously, large dams ... have contributed to huge declines in anadromous fish (those that live in the sea but swim inland to historic spawning grounds) such as salmon, shad, steelhead, and sturgeon. Dams and pollution have virtually eliminated salmon, shad, and sturgeon from the U.S. Atlantic coast, and from rivers in Europe and the American West and Northeast," according to Robert Tillman, senior environmental specialist for Africa at the World Bank.

The Columbia/Snake Rivers have lost 12.15 billion salmon since 1930s, when the dams first cut them off from their native spawning beds upriver. This billion amount doesn't include the loss of the fishes' progeny, another 50 billion fish.These Columbia and Snake River wild fish will all go extinct during these Corps/Bonneville/Reclamation decision-makers' grandchildren's lifetimes. Their grandchildren and their children's grandchildren will someday learn, their errant fathers destroyed the wild fisheries for a dollar. These dams should be breached; the fish should be saved; the decision-makers should be sacked to find honest jobs.

Dozens of once pristine salmon rivers in Washington and Oregon have already lost their salmon -- they are now extinct from those rivers -- no more coho, king, pink, chum or sockeye salmon; all gone. Billions of them, after centuries of living freely. The men who built these dams will someday be damned by their contemporaries for killing off docile, beautiful creatures who just wanted to live.

No one need lose their job if the dams are breached; find a better one.

Joe Paliani, Ocean Park
In Salmon vs. Dams Debate, History Will Side with Salmon
Chinook Observer, March 17, 2020

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