Bonneville Power Administration’s disinformation on salmon recovery

“Salmon success recasts debate,” headline reads. . . an odd way of defining “success”-

BPA’s spin cloaks its role in blocking real salmon recovery. By Ed Chaney. Idaho Statesman

Resurgent Northwest salmon show dam ‘spill’ is better than barging

The fish do better in the river than they do in a barge.

I’m not really a fan of Rocky Barker because I think he is biased towards the collaborative process because it has worked within the framework of the Snake River salmon and steelhead issue. When contrasted with other collaborative processes this issue has a fundamental difference, Judge Redden and the force of federal law. Because of this there is accountability to the “best available science” mandated by the Endangered Species Act not just the whims of people who want to go along to get along as happens with other collaborative groups.

What biologists have known for a long time about salmon is that they do much better when they migrate to the ocean in the river over the dams and not through them, they also know that when they are captured and carried down river in a barge they are exposed to all kinds of disease and are less fit to deal with the transition from fresh to salt water once they are released downstream of Bonneville Dam. More of the barged fish suffered “delayed mortality” than those that migrated downriver on their own.

As an activist, I feel that recovery of salmon and steelhead calls for more than just a minimum population of fish returning to their spawning grounds but rather flourishing population that contributes to the whole ecosystem of the rivers which were once blessed with millions of fish each year. The historic runs of salmon and steelhead had immense influence on the productivity of the ecosystem and provided crucial nutrients to the central Idaho streams they still sparsely inhabit. True recovery should require the removal of the 4 Lower Snake River dams.

Resurgent Northwest salmon show dam ‘spill’ is better than barging
Rocky Barker – The Idaho Statesman.

Hatch-22: The Problem with the Pacific Salmon Resurgence

More salmon but more of them are of hatchery origin

The proportion of hatchery versus wild Pacific salmon has risen to 1 in 5 with an overall production of 5 billion smolts produced annually, up from just 500 million in 1970. There are problems which stem from this. For imperiled salmon, the competition and genetic implications from these hatchery fish can be profound and effect the survivability of the runs which face the highest risk.

Hatch-22: The Problem with the Pacific Salmon Resurgence.
By Bruce Barcott – AlterNet

Obama, like Bush, seems to be stifling salmon science

Manipulation of science remains the same or worse.

In the first year and a half of the Obama Administration nothing has really changed with regard to environmental policy across several agencies. In fact, I think it has gotten worse for two reasons. One, things haven’t changed, and two, people just want to believe that Obama cares about the environment. The BLM and USFS still willfully break the law in their grazing decisions, the MMS issued categorical exclusions for deepwater oil drilling, and now it appears that biologists are still being pressured to manipulate science surrounding salmon to protect dams.

Obama, like Bush, seems to be stifling salmon science.
Crosscut.com

Idaho sockeye numbers cause for hope

Another good year for Idaho’s sockeye salmon?

Redfish Lake © Ken Cole

Redfish Lake © Ken Cole

134,000 164,000 sockeye have crossed Bonneville Dam which is more than 3 times the 10-year average. Most of those are heading to lakes in Washington State but a few are returning to lakes in Idaho’s Sawtooth Mountains. During the last two years Idaho saw exceptionally high returns of sockeye in comparison to many of the previous years where only a handful of fish returned.

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Let’s really talk about taking down those Snake River dams

The merits of dam removal discussed.

There has been an ongoing discussion about the removal of the Lower Snake River dams for many years, in fact, there was opposition to building them in the first place due to concerns about salmon runs. This article examines the pros and cons of dam removal and I think that the pros far outweigh the cons.

Many people see that runs of salmon have been fairly strong during the last 10 years but they fail to realize that these runs are primarily hatchery fish that compete in many ways with the wild fish that are truly in danger of extinction.
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Feds: No major changes for Columbia Basin salmon

Judge Redden said the Bush Plan for salmon wasn’t good enough, Obama thinks it is.

Well, here is another example of how the Obama Administration has followed the lead of the Bush Administration on environmental issues. As we can see from the Gulf Oil Spill those policies are literally a disaster. While salmon returns have been good the last few years and numbers are high for returning Chinook this year, it should be pointed out that the bulk of these fish are hatchery fish and not those protected under the ESA. It should also be noted that the return of jacks, or male Chinook that spend only one year in the ocean as compared to two or three, is about 72% of the 10-year average which is an indication that next year’s run will likely be lower.

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