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Commentaries and editorials

This Year's Fish Runs Show
Dams Don't Need to be Breached

by John McKern
Walla Walla Union-Bulletin, October 9, 2022

Graphic: Adult salmon returns at uppermost Snake River dam (1962-2020) Friends ask what is going on with breaching the lower Snake River dams. U.S. Sen. Patty Murray and Gov. Jay Inslee's study concluded that "... it's clear that breach is not an option right now." Though they support the silver bullet claim, the $10.3 to $31.3 billion cost means that breaching will not happen soon.

This year's fish runs don't support the silver bullet claim. The sockeye run of 663,252 over Bonneville Dam is the highest in recorded history. Over 478,360 sockeye were counted over Wells Dam into the upper Columbia, and 2,087 crossed Lower Granite Dam on their way to Idaho, up from zero in 1994. Chinook over Bonneville totaled 716,586, down from the highest count of 1,337,101 in 2015. Steelhead totaled 115,893, well down from the 633,970 counted in 2001. Coho, back from the verge of extinction in the 1970s, totaled 96,100.

(bluefish notes: McKern includes Lower Granite Dam counts for Sockeye only)
Fish counts fluctuate with changing ocean conditions. When runs are forecast to meet spawning needs, fishery agencies liberalize fishing of the "harvestable surplus."

Related Pages:
Politicians, Environmentalists Ignoring the Facts on Snake River Dams, Salmon by John McKern, Walla Walla Union-Bulletin, 7/24/22
Refutes Dugger by Don Chapman, Lewiston Tribune, 9/9/21
Army Corps Does Not Agree by Keith Carlson, Lewiston Tribune, 9/9/21
Agrees with Dugger, Bentz by Steven Erson, Lewiston Tribune, 9/2/21 Breach the Lower Snake River Dams and We Will Lose Our Fish by Marvin F. Dugger, Lewiston Tribune, 8/1/21
Sound Science and Experience Refute Dugger's Fish Story by Steve Pettit & Richard Scully, Lewiston Tribune, 8/14/21
Saving Salmon is a Ruse for Breaching Our Dams by Marvin F. Dugger, Lewiston Tribune, 3/14/21
What About the Dams? by Marvin F. Dugger, Lewiston Tribune, 11/3/19

John McKern, Retired biologist U.S. Army Corps of Engineers, Walla Walla
This Year's Fish Runs Show Dams Don't Need to be Breached
Walla Walla Union-Bulletin, October 9, 2022

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