“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
BPA’s spin cloaks its role in blocking real salmon recovery. By Ed Chaney. Idaho Statesman
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.
Despite these “minor” delays, this is a bit of very good news.
Contract to remove Elwha dams goes to Montana firm. By Lynda V. Mapes. Seattle Times staff reporter
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.
This is a great success from the not too distant past when only one salmon returned — “Lonesum Larry”
Record sockeye salmon return. By Jon Duval. Idaho Mountain Express Staff Writer
Because they haven’t compared enough rivers, there are plenty of other hypothesis. I propose the Fraser River stocks do poorly because of all the disease breeding salmon farms the B.C. government has allowed between the mouth of the Fraser and the open ocean.
Do Dams Make A Difference? Similar Survival Rates For Pacific Salmon In Fraser And Columbia Rivers. ScienceDaily
When Gold Ray Dam (further upstream) is taken out next year, over 150 miles of the magnificent Rogue River of SW Oregon will have been returned to freedom.
Story in the LA Times. Oregon dam’s demise lets the Rogue River run. By Kim Murphy.
Rare salmon get boost at Redfish. Sockeye released into lake after second summer of high returns. By Jon Duval. Idaho Mountain Express Staff Writer.
“no one has seen a sight like this since 1956. . .”
I wish I could have been there. Wonderful! I hope every year from now on there will more spawners and smolt in the lake that bears their name.
Photo of Redfish Lake from nearby mountains before the mountain pine bark beetle epidemic.
Recently Senator Mike Crapo (R-Idaho) announced that in talks about salmon recovery that dam breaching should be on the table. It’s not an endorsement of dam breaching but it is a departure from former Senator Craig’s stance.
On top of this development comes a letter to politicians signed by several business owners in Lewiston and Clarkston who will be affected whatever happens to the dams.
If the dams are breached then river transportation will go away. If they stay then the cities will require significant infrastructure to keep the rising waters from flooding them due to the fact that the dams are filling with sediment.
One interesting thing mentioned in the letter is that the promised economic boom from dam construction never came.
I argue that the dams should be removed for various reasons, not least of which being the ecological benefits of recovered salmon.
A new twist in dam removal on the Snake River
By Lance Dickie
Seattle Times editorial columnist
Crapo takes a politically risky stand for salmon
Commentary: Kevin Richert – Idaho Statesman
Senator Craig would never allow that kind of talk, nor would Idaho’s water political establishment. Crapo didn’t say he favored breaching the 4 salmon- killing dams on the lower Snake River in Washington State. He just said it had to be on the table. He also said that environmental groups, sport fishing groups, and fishing industry groups had to be at the table. A “collaboration” by the Bush Administration had excluded them.
Crapo finished his statement by saying “not dam breaching must be on the table too.”
This is an important move in the glacial politics of Idaho water and fish. There might be a little more perception of self interest in water politics than in grazing politics, although a collaborative solution of these problems could take decades.
Sen. Crapo says all options including breaching must be on table for regional salmon collaboration. By Rocky Barker. Idaho Statesman.
Fish and Game forecasting the largest salmon returns in years. In other news, F&G will issue fewer moose tags and mountain goat permits in 2009 and 2010. By Roger Phillips. Idaho Statesman.
More money and more political battling have been used to restore salmon (and steelhead) than any other endangered species.
The irony is that B.C. did not dam its salmon streams like the United States did.
Silent Fall. Posted By: Chris Genovali. B.C.’s vanishing wild salmon means trouble for all. Monday Magazine.
. . . more Saving Wild Salmon, in Hopes of Saving the Orca. New York Times. By Cornelia Dean.
The culprit may the infestation of salmon farms the B.C. government has allowed to crop up spreading disease and parasites.
Salmon are in trouble in Puget Sound too, and the orca there are perishing. These orca are not just hungry, but full of toxic chemicals.
“Orcas are a call to action on Puget Sound cleanup. We have to act now to protect and clean up the waters in and around Puget Sound before all of the orcas are lost forever.” By David Dicks. Special to The Seattle Times
Rocky Barker points out that the election outcome may have removed the obstacles to the conservationists’ solution of the sorry condition of salmon runs into Idaho, but breaching the navigation dams on the lower Snake River in Washington is still far from certain.
Election sets the stage for regional forum on salmon and dams. By Rocky Barker. “Letters from the West.” Idaho Statesman.
Recent polls show Jeff Merkely tied or ahead of GOP incumbent Gordon Smith who has supported the Bush Plan (keep the dams) on the lower Snake River in Washington state.
This is a regional (Pacific Northwest) issue, not a Washington state issue. Most fishery biologists think worthwhile salmon recovery in Idaho can’t happen with these 4 river blocking navigation dams in place. They were would to make Lewiston, ID a seaport.
Rocky Barker opins on the race and the issue. Dam breaching an issue in Oregon Senate race. “Letters from the West.” Idaho Statesman.
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Photo of the Lower Monumental Dam (one of the four dams) on the lower reach of the Snake River in Washington State.
They don’t do anything to restore the salmon runs, but they show up for photos when the small run of salmon finally makes it past Stanley, Idaho.
View of the Idaho Mountain Express: photo-op environmentalism.
A record summer for returning sockeye. By Scott Learn. Newhouse News Service
“Sockeye salmon, an oceangoing species that starts and ends its life hundreds of river miles inland, are swimming up the Columbia River this summer in numbers unseen in five decades.”
First sockeye comes home to Idaho. By Rocky Barker – Idaho Statesman
After the unexplained virtual disappearce of the salmon run in the Sacremento River after the best run in many years, the slow return of chinoock salmon into the Columbia has folks on edge.
Rocky Barker writes about it today. Idaho Statesman.
Update added April 11. Sharp Curb on Salmon Season. By FELICITY BARRINGER. New York Times.
Pine beetle infestation impacting salmon runs. Derrick Penner, Vancouver Sun.
Just a reminder to those politicians and others who say we need a rapid plan to save the pines in Colorado, Idaho, Wyoming, etc. The pine beetle infestation covers the pine forests from Alaska south to northern New Mexico. It will have varying impacts such as the salmon story above throughout the entire Rocky Mountains and many adjacent mountain ranges. No statewide or local program can save them, and in many places most are dead already.
Note: I am not speaking of pine in a generic sense (not to mean conifer). I mean lodgepole pine, white pine, whitebark pine, etc.
The federal judge pressing the government to remedy the damage Columbia River dams wreak on protected salmon warned Wednesday of “very harsh” consequences if federal agencies fail to find a solution.
This is from the story in the Oregonian by Michael Milstein on the federal judge’s views on the biological opinion that is emerging from the federal government on their latest plan (their 6th “BO”) to save the salmon protected by the endangered species act. We can do better’ for fish, judge says. Columbia salmon: A federal judge promises “very harsh” measures if a solution is not found The previous five haven’t done well.
Rocky Barker has a story on Redden’s warning too today. Get serious about salmon, judge says. Redden tells federal officials he can drain water if they don’t look at all the ways to save fish. Idaho Statesman. He has followed the issue for many years and has a blog entry on it. Redden still holds out hope region can bring him legal salmon plan.
For those who haven’t following this issue, this is the other long-standing wildlife controversy in Idaho (the first being wolves). Unlike the wolves, there is real money at stake here, not a couple million, but billions. Read the rest of this entry »
With Larry Craig’s loss of power, the other three of Idaho’s congressional delegation have taken up has efforts to make sure nothing is done to help the salmon and steelhead that still manage to migrate (just barely) from the ocean back to where they were hatched to lay eggs and spawn.
The delegations’ position has always been hard to fathom because the things that have done the most to destroy the runs in recent years are the 4 dams in the Lower Snake River. These are in Washington State, not Idaho. They are navigation dams, not water storage dams, and they produce very little net electricity, because the navigation aspect of the dams conflicts with electrical generation.
Their stance, as far as I can tell is cultural. That’s was makes so many of these “Western” issues hard to deal with. They are not really about economics. So rational discourse is not possible.
Except for the far inland seaport of Lewiston, Idaho which was made possible by these pork barrel dams, these lower Snake River dams harm Idaho economically, especially the towns on the spawning streams like Riggins, Salmon, Challis, and Stanley. They also harm Idaho agricultural water users because the alternative to tearing down the 4 dams is to run a lot of water down the Snake and Clearwater rivers to create a current in the reservoirs so the salmon smolts don’t get lost on their way to the ocean.
Fortunately, it looks like Democrats may block the Idaho delegation’s plans. Advice to these Republicans . . . maybe you should vote for things children’s health insurance and to redeploy the American troops in the Iraq civil war. . . you get favors by doing them.
Story: Delegation backs Craig’s salmon water rider. Lawmakers want to ensure Idaho’s voice in the salmon debate won’t be muted. By Rocky Barker. Idaho Statesman.
Craig’s Fall May Benefit Salmon. By Matthew Daily. Associated Press.
Craig is the most hostile of any senator to conserving the salmon and steelhead runs, and with very little support he had held up many measures to assure these anadromous fish would continue to spawn in Idaho, migrate downstream as smolts to the ocean and return to Idaho to spawn.
The article describes many of Craig’s most recent actions against conserving these fish.
More. I found a column in the Seattle Post-Intelligencer about Washington state’s US Senator Maria Cantwell (Dem) working to undo Craig’s damage in the Senate Appropriations bill. Cantwell Works to erase Criag’s Folly [regarding salmon]. By Joel Connelly.
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But has Craig really fallen? In Sunday’s Idaho Statesman wrote Popkey: For Larry Craig, ‘for now’ might mean ‘until January 2009’ Popkey is the Statesman’s reporter who was on leave last spring investigating Craig.
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Also. One Week: GOP leadership’s silence on Craig speaks volumes. By Kevin Richert. Idaho Statesman. Richert is the editor of their editorial page.
I should add that at the bottom of his opinion piece Richert shows he has accepted the wolf population-is-still-growing-fast theory. However, the increase recently reported by Ed Bangs was the number of wolves estimated in mid-2007 population after maybe 500 pups were born compared to the final population figures for 2006 after there had been 7 months for the 2006 pups and adult wolves to suffer mortality. A valid comparison only comes at the end of 2007.