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Commentaries and editorials

We Won’t Miss Dams

by Dave Hayes
The Idaho Statesman, September 13, 2003

We saw more salmon in Bear Valley this August than I have seen in 20 years of visiting that pleasant area. We camp at the confluence of Elk and Bear Valley creeks, and we saw three or four and up to a dozen salmon in each spawning riffle. Many were up to 40 inches long.

Federal agencies have spent over $3 billion on salmon recovery, and the GAO reports that the effort overall has failed. They have reduced livestock grazing in Bear Valley and done some bank stabilization, but not much could have been spent up there (although there must be teams of fish counters and biologists from several agencies observing).

I say breaching the lower Snake River dams would be the most cost-effective way to assure salmon survival. But given this administration and Congress´ spending priorities, there never will be any money, even if there was the will, for breaching. I can´t say if we would ever get used to life without salmon, but I´m sure that in a few years we would never miss the dams.

Dave Hayes, Boise
We Won’t Miss Dams
The Idaho Statesman, September 13, 2003

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