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Commentaries and editorials

Salmon are Priority

by Steve Oliver
The Daily Astorian, June 25, 2010

Thanks for the editorial recognizing the value of the renewable hydroelectric power provided by the Columbia River and the additional energy that turbine upgrades at federal dams will generate from the same amount of water ("Salmon must be our top priority," The Daily Astorian, June 15).

Other important improvements are simultaneously making Columbia and Snake river dams safer for salmon and steelhead. These are not the same dams that they were a decade ago. They operate in very different ways for fish. This is the first full year that juvenile fish migrating to the ocean are benefiting from passage systems that provide easier, safer routes downstream through all eight lower Columbia and Snake dams.

Young salmon now survive their trips down the rivers at rates as good as or better than in the 1960s, when only four dams stood on the lower Columbia and Snake. Structural improvements are backed up by spill of water to help fish safely pass dams and increased water releases to boost flow when young fish are migrating.

If the success continues, the dams will meet the aggressive performance standards for higher fish survival outlined in the federal strategy to protect Columbia and Snake salmon and steelhead. These call for 96 percent average survival for spring migrating fish and 93 percent for summer migrants past each dam.

Salmon protection remains a top priority in the operation of the hydroelectric system.

Steve Oliver, vice president, Generation Asset Management, Bonneville Power Administration, Portland
Salmon are Priority
The Daily Astorian, June 25, 2010

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