You are here: home   Issues   The Rise of the Minotaur   It's a dam mess
Topic: Flora & Fauna     Department: Letters

It's a dam mess

Document Actions
Letter - From the May 18, 2009 issue by JET

The "Salmon Salvation" article misses the point badly (HCN, 5/11/09). The obsession with the lower four dams on the Snake distracts from a much larger and more tangled problem. Although I, too, would like to see those dams go, the four lower Snake Dams are a relatively minor component of a vast set of problems; I doubt the claims that breaching will make much difference, even for individual stocks such as the fall chinook and Imnaha runs. Most scientific assessments suggest that very little additional habitat will come online as a result of breaching the dams, and that the major obstacles to spawning and migration remain upstream and downstream from those sites.

The longstanding habit of ignoring the tangled problems of transnational ocean management of the fisheries and of rapidly changing ocean climate loom much larger and are much less amenable to the sort of easy technological fix that is being sought by a rather narrow-mindedly obsessed group in Judge Redden's courtroom. The main problem with management right now is the inordinate take of salmon by non-local harvesters. For example, well over half of the southeast Alaska ocean chinook fishery relies on Columbia Basin stocks. We will never gain effective management of these stocks until we can calibrate them to ecological conditions, and that will never happen until we return harvest to the basin. This is a complicated, messy set of problems, and Redden's courtroom is not going to solve them.


Email Newsletter

The West in your Inbox

Follow Us

Follow us on Facebook! Follow us on Twitter! Follow our RSS feeds!
  1. Idaho’s sewer system is the Snake River | As Big Ag flourishes, this massive waterway suffer...
  2. The Latest: Wild Mexican wolf pups born in Sierra Madre | The species still struggles on both sides of the b...
  3. Closure of federal sheep facility would be a victory for grizzlies |
  4. Summer swimming in a Washington lake | A writer takes the plunge in frigid water.
  5. Colorado water users gird for first statewide plan |
  1. The death of backpacking? | Younger people don’t seem interested in this out...
  2. Idaho’s sewer system is the Snake River | As Big Ag flourishes, this massive waterway suffer...
  3. A graceful gazelle becomes a pest | Inrroducing an African gazelle called the oryx for...
  4. Illegal immigrants take jobs from Americans | A native-born New Mexico Hispanic points out that ...
  5. Plains sense | Ten years after Frank and Deborah Popper first pro...
HCN Classifieds
Subscriber Alert
© 2014 High Country News, all rights reserved. | privacy policy | terms of use | powered by Plone