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Numbers Tell the Story

by Marvin Entel
Lewiston Tribune, July 12, 2022

Graphic: Wild Chinook runs to the Lower Snake River as counted at the highest dam in place at the time. (1961-2020) Does anyone look at the chinook salmon count in the Columbia/Snake river system for factual evidence that the four lower Snake River dams have no effect on fish number recovery? For the week of May 26 to June 1, here are the numbers for total passage: 39,263 passed over the four Columbia dams and 28,851 chinook, exclusive of jacks, for a total of 73% of the fish, were in the Snake River system.

Meanwhile, 7,119 passed over McNary and 7,119 also passed over Ice Harbor, the first dam on the Snake River.

Some 7,036 passed over Lower Granite.

So how can anyone say the four lower Snake River dams are an impediment to the fish?

All you need to do is look at the numbers. And anyone with common sense can understand that the people in the area and especially people out of the area who advocate for breaching the dams have little knowledge of present and historical numbers of fish returns.

By way of smolt-to-adult return ratios: In one week, 68,000 fish were in the river system. That means a 3% return.

Two million smolts reached the Pacific Ocean. Add up all the weekly returns and in my opinion, more than 10 million smolts reached the ocean for a 2% return this season.

These fish facts bare out the scientific conclusion that ocean conditions, along with other issues, are the main factors affecting returns and have nothing to do with dams. Fish are not going extinct.

Marvin Entel, Clarkston
Numbers Tell the Story
Lewiston Tribune, July 12, 2022

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