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Commentaries and editorials

Time to Remove Snake River Dams

by Robert L. Vadas Jr.
The Olympian, July 17, 2006

With this year's reports of unusually late spring chinook returns (that have reduced Columbia River fishing opportunities) and the alarmingly unsuccessful hatchery restoration for once-abundant Idaho (Snake River) sockeye (as an independent-science panel has concluded), it should surprise no one to find our region's salmon continually in court battles and thus in perpetual trouble.

The government needs to do its job and restore threatened/endangered salmon stocks to the rivers and the citizens of the Northwest. With an effective recovery plan, these court battles would be unnecessary.

I'm pulling for our fish, fishermen and rivers, such that I applaud Judge Redden for ruling in favor of combining the piecemeal recovery plans into one holistic, legal plan for the whole Columbia River basin. This makes good biological sense.

However, instead of cycling through endless rounds of litigation, how about the governor and our members of Congress putting an end to this destructive battle to recover our imperiled salmon? It's time to take a hard look at removing four costly dams on the lower Snake River (that don't produce much electricity) in order to restore salmon, provide jobs and save our fishing communities.

The good news is that the Blumenauer-Petri salmon recovery letter, which calls for a legal, scientifically credible and fiscally responsible fish-management plan for the Columbia-Snake River system, was signed by over 100 members of Congress from both sides of the aisle and subsequently sent to NOAA-Fisheries.

But why didn't Congressman Baird sign this letter?

Robert L. Vadas Jr., Olympia
Time to Remove Snake River Dams
The Olympian, July 17, 2006

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