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Commentaries and editorials

Swimming Upstream

by Shalynn Pack
The Register-Guard, December 4, 2020

Water spills at Lower Granite Dam, one of the four dams on the lower Snake River that salmon advocates have targeted for breaching. Salmon provide nutritious food, jobs and proud natural heritage. Why would we waste such an incredible resource?

In a Nov. 12 guest view, Shalynn Pack of the hydropower-advocacy group Northwest RiverPartners, made an unscientific attempt to pull at readers’ heartstrings by comparing our 60-plus-year scientific understanding of the impacts of dams on ecosystems to our response to the novel coronavirus pandemic. Miller claimed we don’t yet have enough information to protect salmon.

These are the same merchant-of-doubt tactics used by tobacco and oil companies. Current policy will continue to be disastrous for salmon. Salmon runs are still declining. Dams create lethally hot water temperatures for salmon, block salmon passage or cause potentially fatal stress to navigate ladder systems.

We have spent $17 billion on salmon recovery and are obliged to waste more to maintain the outdated lower Snake River dams. Nearly every significant population still is endangered because policymakers won’t acknowledge dams are the true killer.

We can save salmon -- and stop wasting money on Band-Aid solutions -- but we need Oregonians and Congress to act NOW, to remove dams, switch to alternative, regenerative energy sources and restore salmon in the Columbia River.

Related Pages:
A synthesis of the coast-wide decline in survival of West Coast Chinook Salmon by David Welch, Aswea Porter, Erin Rechisky, Fish and Fisheries, September 17, 2020

Shalynn Pack, Albany
Swimming Upstream
The Register-Guard, December 4, 2020

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