by Barrett Christiansen
The only news I hear about Columbia and Snake rivers' salmon and steelhead this year is bad -- it's too hot. Returns are at 20-year lows, and fishing seasons are shorter. The livelihoods of many McKenzie River guides depend on river systems that will sustain salmon and steelhead.
Current management of the Columbia and Snake rivers is crippling the ability for families like ours to make a living. Each year, it gets harder for guide families to survive. Most in the Northwest are impacted by how the Columbia and Snake rivers are managed. Our regional identity is shaped by salmon and steelhead and associated benefits from our mighty rivers. And yet, these rivers aren't managed for all of us.
The recently released final environmental impact statement for Columbia and Snake rivers dams make this clear. Instead of selecting an effective strategy to restore salmon and steelhead, federal agencies chose to stay with the status quo and the "flex spill" plan - a proven ineffective strategy that won't likely help salmon, steelhead or industries and communities that rely on them. River-dependent families need a regional solution to restore salmon and steelhead that includes dam removal on the lower Snake.
Together, we can restore abundant salmon fisheries.
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