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Commentaries and editorials

Spill, Flow Aid Salmon Survival

by Liz Hamilton
The Oregonian, April 13, 2004

I was not surprised to see Wayne Thompson's name over the March 26 "In my opinion" column, "End costly spills and pay anglers not to catch salmon," supporting the Bonneville Power Administration's campaign to eliminate summer spill. While writing for The Oregonian, he rarely failed to articulate the BPA's position on salmon issues.

Apparently a 75 percent reduction in our harvest and the fact that the hydropower system currently does harvest most of the salmon just aren't enough for the interests Thompson supports.

Summer spill is only 1.3 percent of BPA's annual generation. Rather than leading the politics of extinction or inflicting further harm on the community victimized by hydro development, how about this thought:

By forgoing about 25 cents in (electric power) savings to the average household in summer, we could keep between 20,000 and 50,000 salmon returning. Sounds like a real bargain to me.

Mortality of Juvenile Salmon during Downstream Migration through Hydrosystem Corridor
Source: National Marine Fisheries Service, December 21, 2000
(more data at dampool.htm)
Juvenile Salmon Average (1994-1999)
Direct Mortality Fall Chinook Spring Chinook Steelhead
Columbia/Snake Dams
(8 dams)
12% 20% 17%
Columbia/Snake Reservoirs
(8 reservoirs)
81% 40% 41%
Lower Snake River
(4 dams & 4 reservoirs)
72% 30% 29%
Columbia River
(4 dams & 4 reservoirs)
21% 30% 29%
Columbia/Snake Rivers
(8 dams & 8 reservoirs)
93% 60% 58%
Indirect Mortality ? ? ?

Liz Hamilton Executive director Northwest Sportfishing Industry Association Oregon City
Spill, Flow Aid Salmon Survival
The Oregonian, April 13, 2004

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