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Commentaries and editorials

Otter and Dams

by Jeff Ford
The Idaho Statesman, December 3, 2003

Please remind Congressman C.L. Otter that the four lower Snake dams were built with federal dollars.

Return on investment is poor: no flood control, no canal irrigation for agriculture, barging benefits a handful of river barge companies, a little over 4 percent of the Northwest electric pool generated, slack water recreation only, riparian areas destroyed, plus dams create turgid reservoirs of warm water, killing wild salmon smolts.

Results: bad government investment. He holds Idaho river communities hostage by blocking potential income created by the eventual return of wild salmon and steelhead: a much wiser investment. The congressman´s latest diatribe indicates that shortly after approaching “statesman status” by standing against the ill-advised Patriot Act, he fell off his horse, landing on his Stetson; proof-positive that he has not been eating salmon lately. Fish is “brain food.”

If Salmon and Clearwater river water ran freely through those breached dams, there would be a safe passage for young wild salmon and steelhead to the Tri-City area. Might that be enough to satisfy the 2 percent that scientists tell us is needed for a sustained wild salmon and steelhead return?

Jeff Ford, Boise
Otter and Dams
The Idaho Statesman, December 3, 2003

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