the film
Commentaries and editorials

See the Last of
Our Salmon Spawn

by Ann Christensen
Idaho Mountain Express, August 23, 2018

All reasonable voices have said it is time to remove the dams.

The orca named J35, or Tahlequah, carrying her dead calf on the seventh day. (Ken Balcomb/Center for Whale Research) A grieving mother orca carried her dead baby around Puget Sound for at least 17 days. The baby died of starvation. She was the first of the Puget Sound orcas to be born in four years. These orcas live mostly on Idaho's Chinook salmon, and there are not enough left to feed the 75 remaining orcas.

After years of failure to restore our salmon, the courts have finally ordered the consideration of the removal of the four lower Snake River dams.

Idaho's salmon are a keystone species in their ecosystems. They leave our barren mountains as 5-inch smolts and return over 700 miles and eight dams after spending one to five years in the rich Pacific Ocean.

They are the grocery sacks for our mountains as they return to spawn and die. Ions and nutrients from the Pacific Ocean have been found 100 miles from the salmon streams, suggesting that salmon eaten by eagles, bears, wolves and insects fertilize our plants and feed the beauty of the mountains.

We now know that the four lower Snake River dams are more cost than benefit. All reasonable voices have said it is time to remove the dams.

Each salmon may lay 5,000 eggs. They will recover if given a chance. We have seen this happen with the Elwha dams in Washington.

To restore the ecosystems of our mountains and of Puget Sound, we must demand the dams be removed, urging our representatives in Congress and Gov. Inslee of Washington to act before it is too late.

We can see the miracle of our salmon on Saturday at the annual Salmon Festival and together work with Save Our Wild Salmon and Idaho Rivers United to save Idaho's salmon and Puget Sound's orcas.

Ann Christensen
See the Last of Our Salmon Spawn
Idaho Mountain Express, August 23, 2018

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