A dam good speech

  OREGON


In a rousing speech before the Oregon Chapter of the American Fisheries Society in February, Oregon Gov. John Kitzhaber became the first major political figure in the Pacific Northwest to back the breaching of four federal dams to recover dwindling salmon and steelhead runs in the Columbia River basin (HCN, 12/20/99: Unleashing the Snake).


Kitzhaber called breaching the four dams on the Snake River in eastern Washington a "responsible and cost-effective option."


"Some will say that we have not done enough science," he said. "I say that we can always play that card as an excuse for inaction and as a justification for avoiding tough choices. But exactly what additional scientific experiment is necessary to demonstrate that it is easier for salmon to migrate in a free-flowing river than to negotiate a several-hundred-foot-high concrete barrier?"


Kitzhaber's speech drew loud applause from fish advocates.


"This region's needed a leader on this issue," Liz Hamilton, spokeswoman for the Northwest Sportfishing Industry Association told the Oregonian. "Apparently, it's going to get one."


Other governors in the region criticized Kitzhaber, saying he has hurt the chances of a unified approach.


"It's unfortunate that Gov. Kitzhaber felt at this time he had to come forward and say that breaching is his option," said Mark Snyder, an aide to Idaho Gov. Dirk Kempthorne. "Gov. Kempthorne still wants to step forward and offer a regional plan that does not involve breaching."


Kitzhaber said he is open to a no-breach plan, but he warned that it would require aggressive and costly actions, including habitat restoration on private lands, radical limits on salmon harvest, and the acquisition of water rights to increase flows for migrating fish.


"We have to stop deluding ourselves ... that our choices will be easier and cheaper if we just leave the dams alone."


High Country News Classifieds
  • UTAH BEEF
    Grass-fed, grass-finished beef. Available in October. Reserve your beef now. Kate's Land & Cattle Boulder, Utah. [email protected], grassfedbeefbykatie.com
  • SECLUDED COLORADO HIDEAWAY
    This passive solar home sits on 2 lots and offers an abundance of privacy and views while being only 15 minutes to downtown Buena Vista....
  • COMMUNICATIONS COORDINATOR
    Introduction: Grand Staircase Escalante Partners (GSEP) is a non-profit 501(c)(3) organization with offices located in Kanab and Escalante, Utah. We are committed to the conservation...
  • CARETAKER
    2.0 acre homestead needing year-round caretaker in NE Oregon. Contact [email protected] for details.
  • MEMBERSHIP MANAGER
    For more information visit www. wyofile.com/careers/
  • THRIVING LOCAL HEALTH FOOD STORE FOR SALE
    Turn-key business opportunity. Successful well established business with room to grow. Excellent highway visibility.
  • DEVELOPMENT DIRECTOR
    For more information, visit www.wyofile.com/careers/
  • STAFF ATTORNEY
    STAFF ATTORNEY POSITION OPENING www.westernlaw.org/about-us/clinic-interns-careers The Western Environmental Law Center (WELC) is a high-impact, nonprofit public interest environmental law firm with a 27-year legacy using...
  • PROJECT MANAGER
    Position Summary Join our Team at the New Mexico Land Conservancy! We're seeking a Project Manager who will work to protect land and water across...
  • SEEKING PROPERTY FOR BISON HERD
    Seeking additional properties for a herd of 1,000 AUM minimum. Interested in partnering with landowners looking to engage in commercial and/or conservation bison ranching. Location...
  • WILDLIFE HAVEN
    Beautiful acreage with Teton Creek flowing through it. Springs and ponds, lots of trees, moose and deer. Property has barn. Easy access. approx. 33 acres.
  • ARIZONA CONSERVATION CORPS PROGRAM DIRECTOR
    Arizona Conservation Corps is seeking a Program Director in Flagstaff or Tucson
  • COPPER STAIN: ASARCO'S LEGACY IN EL PASO
    Tales from scores of ex-employees unearth the human costs of an economy that runs on copper.
  • EXPERT LAND STEWART
    Available for site conservator, property manager. View resume at http://skills.ojadigital.net.
  • CONSERVATIONIST? IRRIGABLE LAND?
    Stellar seed-saving NGO is available to serious partner. Package must include financial support. Details: http://seeds.ojaidigital.net.
  • CANYONLANDS FIELD INSTITUTE
    Colorado Plateau Natural & Human History Field Seminars. Lodge, river, hiking options. Small groups, guest experts.
  • WESTERN NATIVE SEED
    Specializing in native seeds and seed mixes for western states.
  • CHUCK BURR'S CULTUREQUAKE.COM BLOG
    Change will happen when we see a new way of living. Thinking to save the world.
  • COMING TO TUCSON?
    Popular vacation house, furnished, 2 bed/1 bath, yard, dog-friendly. Lee at [email protected] or 520-791-9246.
  • OJO CALIENTE COMMERCIAL VENTURE
    Outstanding location near the world famous Ojo Caliente Mineral Spring Resort. Classic adobe Mercantile complete w/living quarters, separate 6 unit B&B, metal building and spacious...