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Commentaries and editorials

Turning RedFish Red

Brad Purdy, letter to Boise Weekly - September 9, 1999

Like the Lower Snake River, Sherl Chapman's Guest Opinion ["Breaching Won't Save Idaho's Water," Aug.26] is missing a few things; facts rather than fish.

He accuses those who support breaching of deceiving the public because "the federal government wants Idaho water for flow augmentation regardless of whether the dams are breached."

With all due respect, Mr. Chapman's opinion could use a little augmentation itself. If additional Idaho water will be called for regardless of whether the dams are breached, then why do Chapman and his constituency oppose breaching? He contends that the science of migratory fish restoration is muddy, but I believe that anyone possessing a modicum of common sense intuitively knows that removing the obstacles (like, uh, dams) to returning salmon will enhance their odds of recovery.

Chapman's correct, "the devil is in the details," and I agree that we should be aware of all the consequences of significant measures such as dam breaching. But conspicuously absent from Chapman's opinion is any discussion of the economic value of restoring salmon runs in Idaho. While agriculture is indeed important to this state's economy, it is no longer the only trunk in the tree.

Tourism and recreation now sit firmly near the top of this state's list of income-injecting industries. Like it or not, times are changing, and many people in this state want to see Redfish Lake turn run with sockeye once again.

Brad Purdy
Turning Redfish Red
Letter to Boise Weekly September 9, 1999

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