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$5000 REWARD

Provide website visitors with an explanation of how the Federal Columbia River Power System Biological Opinion will bring about the recovery of Idaho's Sockeye Salmon and receive five thousand dollars from the non-profit organization

The general public as well as all federal, state and tribal biologists are eligible for the reward.

At Issue

In southeastern Washington State, the four Lower Snake River dams provide:
  • irrigation for 13 farms on 37,000 acres,
  • 4% of the region's electricity in an average water year,
  • taxpayer-supported shipping of 4 million tons of commodities,
  • and quarter billion dollars annual revenue for the U.S. government.
Before western man arrived to the Pacific Northwest,
  • Redfish Lake, Idaho hosted some 25,000 adult sockeye salmon every year.
  • In 1998, only one Sockeye returned to Redfish Lake.
  • Throughout the 1990's, a total of twenty-three Sockeye adults returned.

  • More data and commentary regarding Idaho's Sockeye.

While the facts seem stark and simple the questions and meanings run much deeper.

Salmon in the Classroom produces winning art in the fifth grade (2008), sponsored by Washington Wheat Commission.

Map showing location of 4 lower Snake River dams and reservoirs being considered for removal

Our Mission

Our mission is to facilitate an open and honest dialogue concerning the plight of Idaho's wild Salmon and Steelhead. The fate of these fish will largely be determined by government agencies and the authorizations and funding that they receive from Congress. It is hoped that the growing library of news & reports will assist the public and these decision-makers in making well-informed choices regarding the recovery of Idaho's anadromous fish.

Our library is organized into five basic categories
(see Samples from each below)

Numerical data in tables Economic and dam related articles Commentaries and editorials Ecology and salmon related articles Geometric ideas and concepts

Samples from People & Thoughts

Oregon Governor Kitzhaber's View (2002)
"If we want to recover salmon, and we don't want to breach the dams, then we are going to have to step up to the plate. Delay is not an alternative, or we are going to start losing these runs."

The alternative plan, labeled "aggressive non-breach," calls for leaving the dams in place while implementing significant steps that include restoration of streams where salmon spawn, reform of hatcheries to reduce harm to wild fish by hatchery-born fish, (restoration of the Columbia River estuary) and increased fishing restrictions. The federal plan says breaching should again be considered if specific goals are not met by 2003, 2005 and 2008.

-- by Jonathan Brinckman, The Oregonian (more)
Washington's Congressman Doc Hasting's View (2011)
My district in central Washington contains the heart of the Federal Columbia River Power System. This network of federal dams and reservoirs has provided emissions-free, reliable hydropower for generations. It's our duty to make sure this affordable, renewable energy source continues well into the future.

. . . as long as I'm serving in Congress, these dams will remain intact and functioning. They will not be breached, removed, or destroyed. The people of the Pacific Northwest understand that dam removal is an extreme action that will drive up energy costs and won't help recover fish.

-- House Subcommittee Oversight Hearing (more)
Federal NOAA Fisheries's View (2002)
Much of the regional debate has focused on removal of Snake River dams.
  • There is continuing scientific uncertainty about whether breaching dams is necessary to achieve recovery and considerable uncertainty about whether it will do the job.

  • Only Snake River fish benefit from breaching, with no benefit to eight other listed populations.

  • Dam removal would require explicit congressional authorization, and, once authorized, cannot be implemented on a short time frame.

  • And its high cost may prejudice other actions needed throughout the Basin.
The option of Snake River drawdown therefore appears to rank as a lower priority at this time than other available options because of the long time to implement, narrow benefits, biological uncertainties and high costs.

-- Conservation of Columbia Basin Fish (more)
Federal Justice Department's View (2011)
The judge also wanted to know if the defendants' most recent data showed increasing survival and recovery gaps for most of the listed populations, and if that was true, what were the consequences.

DOJ attorney Howell said it depended on what metric and which population was examined. Some gaps were getting smaller and some were getting bigger...

Howell said abundance of all the populations has improved, but two have "flipped" from an extinction risk of less than 5 percent to greater than 5 percent. Another three have seen a decline in recruit/spawner ratios, and two have seen declines in "lambda," the median annual rate of population change.

Howell said plaintiffs were wrong when they said fish are not surviving as well as feds had anticipated. Of the 28 populations in the Snake spring chinook ESU, he said NMFS found that two had one metric that had flipped, with all others doing well, and the populations that had slipped were being prioritized for more habitat improvements.

-- by Bill Rudolph, Columbia Basin Bulletin (more)

Fish : Dams : Aluminum : Irrigation : Navigation : Rail : Rates : Overgeneration : Efficiency : Solar : Wind : Biomass : Geothermal : Wave/Tidal : Nuclear : Fossil Fuel : Other Energy : Smart Grid : Transmission : Climate Change : Misc. :

Samples from Dams & Economics

Energy Efficient Goods Popular (2001)
You can see the proof that Northwest residents are taking the energy crunch seriously in the light bulb aisle of your local hardware store.

You can see the proof, that is, unless shoppers have already cleaned out the compact fluorescent bulbs -- the low-energy lights that have become the hot consumer item this winter.

"It's been a challenge to keep us supplied," said Fred Meyer spokesman Rob Boley. "We've got two main suppliers that have been working hard to keep us in stock."

Compact fluorescent bulbs are just one of many energy-saving items consumers are snapping up now that the region's looming energy shortage has pushed up electricity costs and brought government pleas to conserve power. Other hot items include insulation, thermostats, timers for lights and water heaters, and energy-efficient appliances.

Many of the products are more expensive than their more energy-hungry counterparts. But the power crisis, financial incentives and technological improvements to energy-efficient goods have made them newly popular.

No item illustrates this better than compact fluorescent bulbs: They cost much more than incandescent bulbs -- about $10 to $20 each. But they can last 10 times longer, up to 10,000 hours under ideal conditions. And they use only a quarter of the power: A 15-watt compact fluorescent bulb offers as much light as a 60-watt incandescent bulb.

-- by Andy Dworkin, The Oregonian (more)
NW Wind Power Growing Rapidly (2011)

"Every time we choke down 1,000 megawatts, another 250, 500 or 1,000 megawatts shows up," said BPA's Elliott Mainzer.

. . .

Northwest wind power could more than double by 2025, possibly causing problems for managing the transmission grid, according to a new study.

Wind turbines now operating or under construction can generate a peak output of about 6,000 megawatts, or the equivalent of 15 good-size natural gas-fired power plants, the Northwest Power and Conservation Council said.

Most of that wind power was added in the past five years.

The Portland-based council estimates the region could see another 5,000 to 10,000 megawatts of wind capacity by 2025, The Oregonian reported.

The council is tasked by Congress with developing long-term power plans that balance the region's energy and environmental needs.

Its staff prepared the study released Thursday to provide power planners with a forecast on the upper limit of potential wind development for a region that is already struggling to absorb the rapidly increasing and highly variable output of its expanding wind turbine fleet.

-- by Assoicated Press, Seattle Times (more)
Aluminum Companies Seek Deal with BPA (2001)
Federal dams and the BPA are capable of generating and transmitting about 8,400 megawatts of power. The BPA's customers require about 11,000 megawatts, which means the federal agency will have to buy about a quarter of the power it sells to public and private utilities, and to Northwest industries.

About 1,500 megawatts of the BPA's power will go to aluminum mills in Washington, Oregon and Montana. The companies operating those plants have asked for a credit for the power they don't use. They would use that credit to lower their energy cost to the point where they could make a profit on the aluminum they produce.

What the BPA would like them to do is use some of the windfall profits they've made by closing plants and reselling energy this year. According to Mosey, Kaiser Aluminum alone, which has shut down smelters in Spokane and Tacoma, has made a half-billion dollars since last summer by reselling the electricity it didn't use.

-- by Robert T. Nelson, Seattle Times (more)
Port of Lewiston at 1970 levels (2011)

The Port of Lewiston is the inland most seaport on the West Coast, more than 400 miles from the Pacific Ocean. A series of dams and locks completed on the Snake in 1975 allow ocean-based commerce to be conducted here, and in two nearby ports in Washington.

But business has dropped sharply at the port, to 1970s levels, just in the past year, prompting longtime critics to suggest that the port -- which gets about 20 percent of its $2.29 million annual budget from local property taxes -- may not be economically viable in the future.

The chief critics are environmental groups which have been fighting for years to have the four Snake River dams breached because they contend the structures have decimated wild salmon runs.

Port director David Doeringsfeld said the number of ships calling on Portland -- where cargo from Lewiston is transferred to oceangoing vessels -- has been down the past couple of years because of the worldwide recession, and that hurts his ability to ship.

-- by Assoicated Press, Tri-City Herald (more)

Science : Upstream : Pollution : Competition : Supplementation : Hydropower : Predation : Estuary/Ocean : Harvest : Adaptation : Runs : Testimony : Law

Samples from Salmon & Ecologics

Salmon Support 137 Other Species (2000)
More than 137 species of fish and wildlife - from orcas to caddisflies - depend on the Northwest salmon for their survival, a revelation that makes salmon recovery efforts of far greater importance than the protection of a single species.

A new report released by Washington Department of Fish and Wildlife has found that salmon play a vital role in watershed health, transporting nutrients from the ocean back to the watershed.

The discovery could spark major changes in fishery and hatchery management and the direction of salmon recovery efforts in the future.

"It's not just salmon, it's the ecosystem," said Jeff Cederholm, a salmon research scientist with Washington Department of Natural Resources, principal author of the report. "We need to start giving out the whole story of what made the ecosystem; it's an abundance of fish on the spawning grounds."

Northwest species now struggling because of depleted salmon runs include the bald eagle, grizzly bear, black bear, osprey, harlequin duck, Caspian tern and river otter.

"They are all so closely tuned with the pacific salmon that many of these populations are in decline, partially due to declining food supply," Cederholm said.

-- by Ed Hunt, Environmental News Network (more)
Sea Lions Continue to Munch Endangered Salmon(2010)
BONNEVILLE DAM -- Despite a flurry of shotgun-fired firecrackers, rubber buckshot and lethal injections that have killed 10 California sea lions this year, the amount of salmon eaten by sea lions at the first dam along the Columbia River is approaching record levels.

That's the word from Robert Stansell, a fish biologist with the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers who has monitored the sea lion's often surprising behavior since he started at Bonneville in 1982.

"These animals do learn over time," Stansell says. "Every time I think I know something, the next year they throw me a curveball."

The lethal-take program, requested by Oregon, Washington and Idaho, is the first in the nation to kill marine mammals to save threatened or endangered salmon and steelhead since Congress passed the Marine Mammal Protection Act in 1972. The Columbia is home to a multibillion-dollar salmon restoration effort.

But it's not easy to rebalance nature at the base of a mammoth hydropower dam, even with observers on the dam from dawn to dusk to track the sea lion dietary preferences, shotgun-armed hazers on boats and along the dam, and four sea lion traps on shore below the dam's north powerhouse.

Nearly three years in, the results of the lethal-take effort are murky, in large part because of those curveballs.

-- by Scott Learn, The Oregonian (more)

A sample from Newton & Numbers

Estimated Survival of Juvenile Salmon & Steelhead
Downstream Migration through Hydrosystem Corridor

(for estimated mortality subtract value from 100%, see last two rows.)

Hydrosystem Reach Yearling
Steelhead Sockeye
Lewiston Trap to
Lower Granite tailrace
(1 dam and 1 reservoir)
94.7% 95.8% N/A
Lower Granite tailrace
to McNary tailrace
(4 dams and 4 reservoirs)
73.6% 62.1% 60%
McNary tailrace to
Bonneville tailrace
(3 dams and 3 reservoirs)
69.7% 61.5% 54%
Lewsiton Trap to
Bonneville tailrace
(8 dams and 8 reservoirs)
49.3% 40.4%
Direct Mortality
(100% - estimated survival)
50.7% 59.6% 61%*
Indirect Mortality
(mortality occurring after but
resulting from hydrosystem)
? ? ?

Source: NOAA Survival Memo Tables 4, 5 & 7.

* Sockeye salmon estimated survival does not include Lower Granite dam and reservoir, nor 2004, 2005 data.
Sockeye estimates are of questionable quality due to small release sizes and low detection probabilities.

Map of some major Columbia & Snake River Dams

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Discussion forum A discussion forum is provided and a directory of lesson plans donated by educators who use the film RedFish BlueFish and website in their curriculum.

Library of topics from the film This page is the home library page that you are now reading.

Tutorial on the Salmon issue A tutorial is being developed to allow visitors to more easily grasp the chief issues surrounding this otherwise complex topic. Current government reports will be used extensively so as to avoid propaganda and misinformation.

Contact information and government agencies are just a click away. List of links to related websites grows with your suggestions aimed at representing all points of view.

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