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Commentaries and editorials

Save the Fish

by Steven R. Evans
Lewiston Tribune, December 17, 2019

Graphic: Surival of Idaho's juvenile salmon and Steelhead throught the (1997-2019) I applaud Abel Workman's Dec. 8 letter and his interest in examining "the fish problem."

There is some truth in his assertion that the ocean is "over-fished" and there are "severe pollution problems. ..."

I wish Workman and every interested citizen could have heard the expert opinions expressed at the seminar on anadromous fish just last week, sponsored by the Idaho Guides and Outfitters Association and hosted by the Clearwater Casino. The experts agreed ocean conditions are a big problem, especially increased ocean acidity that had developed mostly in the last century. It will take an extended effort by the combined nations of the world to take effective action.

So what can we do right now?

The biggest salmon/steelhead mortality occurs not in the Pacific, but in the Columbia/Snake hydro system migration corridor. There is not enough stream velocity. Most fish do not "return" because they don't make it to the ocean; they die en route.

Scientists at the conference showed clearly that fish with fewer reservoirs to navigate do much better than those enduring more slackwater(s). The notable example was the fish returns for the John Day River with four dam reservoirs versus the Salmon and Grand Ronde rivers with eight major dams. Four reservoirs are not as deadly as eight, and if we wait for an ocean fix, we will witness the further extinction of our precious gifts from God.

Urge our local and national leadership to recognize the science and lead or get out of the way.

Steven R. Evans, Lapwai
Save the Fish
Lewiston Tribune, December 17, 2019

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