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Commentaries and editorials

Focus on Right Catch

by Jesse Feathers
Letter to Editor, Seattle Times - December 17, 2002

The evidence is mounting that the feds are not interested in fulfilling their promises to restore salmon in the Columbia River Basin, and their actions give further impetus to the argument that the Snake River dams should be breached.

Recently, the Northwest Power Council proposed a change in policy that would release less water for young salmon trying to migrate to the ocean in the spring and summer. The council believes there is no scientific proof that such releases benefit salmon, that native fish in Montana are harmed by the releases, and that more power could be generated for the Bonneville Power Administration by the proposed change.

While showing concern for Montana fish is correct, there is no scientific proof that says release of spring and summer water is not working. And with the recent relatively successful salmon runs, the preliminary conclusion should be that they are working until science shows otherwise.

One gets the feeling that the council and the feds are focused on one thing: power generation. Because of that unbalanced focus, the salmon will suffer, and we are likely to soon experience in the Columbia River Basin the kind of fish-kill disaster witnessed on the Klamath River this summer.

Jesse Feathers, Seattle
Focus on Right Catch
Seattle Times Company, Dectember 17, 2001

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