Talk About Dams,
by Mark Leed
We are at a critical moment for Washington wildlife. Soon the Legislature will vote on actions that could determine the future of Puget Sound orca and the Snake River chinook that are so important to their survival.
In his orca recovery budget, Gov. Jay Inslee has proposed one especially critical measure: a discussion among those who will be most affected. A focus group will be exploring mitigation and transition needs if the four lower Snake River dams are removed to restore Snake River chinook. Even if we don't all agree about dam removal, conversation is important and could offer key insights for both orcas and people.
The Legislature must act to fund the inclusive discussions, deliberate planning and collective problem-solving that will allow us to seize opportunities. If the dams are removed, farmers and communities along the Snake River will have irrigation, transportation, and other needs. The stakeholder process can start developing strategies to meet them.
We can't stand by and witness the extinction of our living national treasures. We can share the burden of change. So we need to start talking to one another -- now.
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