the film
Commentaries and editorials

Snake River Dams
Stymie True Salmon Recovery

by Paul J. Allen
The Olympian, May 23, 2006

There's too much waste in my neighborhood, and I am not referring to curbside garbage. In every story about declining runs of Columbia Basin spring chinook, I read of wasted time, money and effort in the government's failed efforts to restore our iconic fish.

We wouldn't waste these resources if the government would face the facts and follow the science. John Thorpe, an Oregon fisheries manager, is right when he states that the environment is out of our hands. We can't control the amount of snowpack or ocean conditions.

These have always varied - year in and year out - and salmon have thrived. However, what we do control are the four outdated dams on the lower Snake River.

The federal government has wasted billions of public dollars on failed efforts to "mitigate" these dams. Our disappearing salmon are speaking loud and clear, but is anyone listening? The minimal services that these dams provide can be replaced and Snake River salmon and steelhead restored. Each year these costly dams remain in place is another year of wasted money and missed opportunity. Where is the leadership in the region to start solving these problems?

Paul J. Allen, Olympia
Snake River Dams Stymie True Salmon Recovery
The Olympian, May 23, 2006

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