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It's More Than the Dams

by Tom Brattebo
Spokesman-Review, March 11, 2021

(Aaron Kunz) 20 years ago, Lonesome Larry was the only sockeye salmon to make the 800-mile trip from the Pacific Ocean to Redfish Lake, once a popular spawning area for salmon. A big issue in the news these days is the proposal to remove dams from the Lower Snake to improve salmon runs. Having grown up at the mouth of the Columbia, catching and eating lots of salmon and other seafood, because hamburger cost money while seafood was free for the gathering, I wonder if dam removal is the answer. Yes, salmon returning to the Snake are declining, though they have been dealing with the dams for decades. So, why are the runs in the downstream and coastal rivers without dams declining? Why is digging for razor clams and catching Dungeness crab closed on the coast?

There is also much news about changes to the ocean that just may be connected to all of these things. The bigger challenge to future fish stocks may be "What can we do about the changes in climate that are impacting all that happens to the oceans?" The key to salmon recovery may not be as simple as removing the dams.

Tom Brattebo, Liberty Lake
It's More Than the Dams
Spokesman-Review, March 11, 2021

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