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Commentaries and editorials

Not One Or the Other

by Steven R. Evans
Lewiston Tribune, February 17, 2019

Ice Harbor dam impounds a reservoir that allows thirteen farms to pump irrigation water from a higher elevation than from the natural river, saving up to 80 feet of head and significant pumping expense. It's as clear as the Columbia River used to be, but Jeff Sayre's Feb. 3 commentary missed the connection between the pollution of Puget Sound and the lower Snake River dams.

He said the pollution is "... the problem, not the Snake River dams." But all share this single trait: They negatively affect salmon and steelhead habitat. Why does it have to be one or the other? Can't both Puget Sound pollution and the Snake River dams help explain descending salmon numbers?

Sayre is all over the PCBs and other sources of pollution in Puget Sound and would like to see the mess cleaned up; and we are in total agreement on who is responsible and the necessity of the work ahead. A part of this mess is the damage done by the Snake River dams.

What do the fish biologists say? I have watched the damage come to the Pacific Northwest salmon over the past half-century and I have sought information from the biologists. A part of the solution, if not the silver bullet, is the removal of the lower Snake River dams.

The people elected Congress to put dams in. If we want salmon as part of our lives and legacy, it is clear what we must do. It is clear as the Columbia used to be, as clear as Puget Sound before the pollution, as clear as the coming of the next election.

Steven R. Evans, Lapwai
Not One Or the Other
Lewiston Tribune, February 17, 2019

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