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Commentaries and editorials

Plan Spells Extinction

by Joel Kawahara
The Seattle Times, October 19, 2009

(Mark Harrison) Sockeye salmon pass through the Ballard Locks on their way to Lake Washington, and eventually Cedar River to spawn in the same area where they were born. Editor, The Times:

Will Stelle proposed we let the experts, with their salmon plan, guide recovery on the Columbia and Snake rivers ["Migrating toward consensus on salmon," Opinion, guest commentary, Oct. 18].

The large 2009 salmon runs to the Columbia and Snake rivers provide evidence that the proposed plan is inadequate. Analysis by the Fish Passage Center branch of Bonneville Power Administration shows that court-ordered flows, which increased the survival of out-migrating salmon, coupled with very favorable ocean conditions, lead to this year's runs.

Yet the plan Stelle touts plans for flows less than ordered in 2006, 2007 and 2008. This does not pass muster.

Stelle also lauds the accord between the state of Washington, three Columbia River Indian tribes and the federal government. The state of Oregon and the Nez Perce tribe and fishing groups continue to oppose the plan.

Hardly a regional consensus.

The fishing interests of the region cannot support a plan in which fishing reductions will be the first elements of the plan to be enacted, even before any major structural changes to the hydropower system are considered.

Overfishing by the hydropower system, along with well-thought-out political apathy, is killing the salmon runs. This current plan simply takes hundreds of pages to spell extinction.

Joel Kawahara, Quilcene
Plan Spells Extinction
The Seattle Times, October 19, 2009

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