Relying Too Much on Hope
by Alex Uber
The Seattle Times, October 23, 2009
The Oct. 19 column by Will Stelle "Migrating toward consensus on salmon" [Opinion, guest commentary], left me wondering where he has been during the long struggle to produce an honest, scientifically credible plan to keep Columbia River and Snake River salmon and steelhead from going extinct.
Stelle stated the latest biological opinion from the federal government to save the fish is strategically sound because it addresses head-on all of the major sources of human-caused mortality that are choking off salmon runs.
Sadly, this is exactly what the plan does not do.
By not seriously addressing the impacts of the four lower Snake River dams on the fish, we are left with a plan that relies on hope. Hope that the headwater stream habitat work that Stelle suggests should happen actually will. Hope that work in the estuary will be completed and translate into improvements in the runs. And hope that more studies will tell us something we don't already know.
These rivers have been fundamentally changed from their natural condition by dams such that salmon can no longer thrive.
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