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Commentaries and editorials

Idaho Sockeye Named
One of the Most Endangered Species

by Katherine Wutz
Seattle Times, November 15, 2012

Idaho's endangered sockeye salmon are highlighted as one of the nation's most endangered species in a report released Wednesday by the Endangered Species Coalition.

The report, "Water Woes: How Dams, Diversions, Dirty Water and Drought Put America's Wildlife at Risk" examines the ways that poor water quality and reduced water quantity threaten imperiled species in 10 ecosystems across the United States. It cites three west coast salmon species -- including Idaho sockeye.

"This report reiterates what folks in Idaho have known for a long time, and that's that our sockeye salmon -- and all of our salmon -- are suffering because of unneeded dams on the lower Snake River," said IRU board member Tom Stuart. "This year is the 20-year anniversary of the return of a lone sockeye salmon to Idaho. And we unfortunately haven't come very far since then."

"Dams built for hydropower, navigation, and water diversion are major factors impacting these three species' declining populations," the report states. "In addition to blocking migration routes to and from spawning habitat, dams create slow-moving water reservoirs, which allow river temperatures to reach levels considered dangerous or even lethal to cold-water species like the sockeye."

The Endangered Species Coalition has produced a "Top 10" report annually for the last five years. "Water Woes" can be downloaded

Katherine Wutz
Idaho Sockeye Named One of the Most Endangered Species
Seattle Times, November 15, 2012

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