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Return of Wild Adult Fish Increasing

by Greg Delwiche
The Columbian, April 22, 2009

Spring runoff spills over a Ice Harbor dam on the Lower Snake River. As a vice president of environment, fish and wildlife for Bonneville Power Administration, I appreciate the April 12 story, "Running wild," on fish and wildlife projects, but there's more to the story.

First, Columbia River salmon runs are improving. Salmon stocks returned to rivers last fall in numbers that were unimaginable only a few years ago. The average number of wild Snake River fall chinook has risen tenfold since the 1990s, when the species was listed under the Endangered Species Act.

Juvenile salmon survival through our much-updated hydro system is now far better than it was before dams on the Lower Snake River were built. Habitat restoration is producing results.

BPA funded over $50 million of research and monitoring last year to track the results of fish and wildlife projects. This represents about 35 percent of our fish and wildlife spending. We spend this money because we want to be sure what we're doing is working. The Northwest is increasingly working together for salmon recovery, and we constantly measure our progress.

Greg Delwiche, Portland
Return of Wild Adult Fish Increasing
The Columbian, April 22, 2009

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