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Commentaries and editorials

At the Breaking Point

by Kyle Jones
Lewiston Tribune, February 28, 2021

(Aaron Kunz) 20 years ago, Lonesome Larry was the only sockeye salmon to make the 800-mile trip from the Pacific Ocean to Redfish Lake, once a popular spawning area for salmon.

I place the success of my salmon and steelhead outfitting business largely in the hands of Mother Nature. Like my north central Idaho farming neighbors, poor fish returns hit our pocketbooks just as deeply as poor crop years, but we put our heads down hoping that next season will turn the corner so we can work hard, make up for our losses and provide for our families.

We are at a breaking point for our fish and our industry.

Too often, rural Idahoans have faced this situation, thinking next year will revitalize the logging or mining industry but then watch it, and our towns, disappear without taking action to save it.

We are predicting yet another season closure for spring chinook on the Clearwater because we can’t get meet the needed minimum hatchery broodstock.

Mother Nature has tried her hardest, but we have done our damnedest to prevent these fish from surviving the Snake and Columbia rivers system. We’re circling the drain on these fish and cannot wait any longer.

I would never wish this uncertainty onto my neighbors. That is why I support Congressman Mike Simpson’s plan to save our fish while investing billions into new infrastructure for my neighboring farmers so they will not have to feel this same uncertainty that we feel annually as fishing outfitters.

Simpson’s plan is far bigger than just breaching the four lower Snake River dams to save fish. It is a plan for Idahoans to look up while we still have a fighting chance.

Kyle Jones, Deary
At the Breaking Point
Lewiston Tribune, February 28, 2021

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