Set Aside Breachingby Mona Peterson and Verla Chishano, Idaho Women in Timber
Wood River Journal - November 10, 1999
CASCADE-Breaching dams to save a salmon is an appealing idea. It's a "silver bullet"--one magical, single action we can take so we won't have to worry about the problem anymore.
The trouble with silver bullets is that they rarely solve the problem. In this case, breaching almost certainly won't. If the decision were made today to breach, the first dam wouldn't come out for a decade. That's the minimum time it would take to pass the legislation, pass the appropriation, have the federal agencies do the legally required environmental studies, design the breaching projects, ask for bids and award a contract. At any time, opponents can sue and delay the work still further. Realistically, the dams will still be there when the runs go extinct---unless we do something else, somethin achievable.
A number of new, fish-saving technologies aren't being investigated because we're focused on breaching. Some combination of those technologies could result in rebuilding the runs, or at least in preserving them until a way to reach real restoration is found. Let's get going with some realistic solutions and set aside the fantasy that breaching dams will save the fish.
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