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Old 03-22-2000, 10:47 PM
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juro juro is offline
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Join Date: Jan 2000
Location: Steelhead country|striper coast|bonefish belt
Posts: 20,594
RE:Snake River dams

Just a note:

Almost four decades before Lewis & Clark, an admiral from Pembroke MA led a sailing vessel that was constructed and launched from the North River near Scituate. The crew sailed around the southern tip of South America and up the other side to explore a huge river teeming with anadromous fishes - several species of salmon, searun trout, sturgeon, etc. He named the river after his vessel, the USS Columbia.

His son, Admiral Gray Jr, followed his father's journey and was first to navigate the Columbia's biggest tributary, the Snake. Admiral Gray (Jr's) estate is among the most interesting B&B resorts on the sprawling shores of the Columbia, a river giant that holds a mere 13% of wild salmonids compared to the mid 1930's.

The salmon and steelhead are particularly depressed, with certain strains (like the B-run steelhead) in dire straits. In 30 years of trying, barging the smolt from the Snake over the dams to the sea has not shown improvement in adult returns, yet the years corrsponding to high spring runoffs and thus good flow over spillways have shown marked improvements in adult returns. This implies that (a) young salmon and steelhead don't learn their way for their epic journey enclosed in a ship's hold (b) when the young are not forced through the turbines they fare relatively well. When 87% of the wild fish are gone, it's time to put their welfare as high priority before they are replaced by hatchery fish introduced by the millions by recreationally oriented hatcheries and supported by big business like Bonneville Power (dams).

I hope we can continue the trend (as a species) to learn to live with the earth better than we have in the last century. Long live the Snake and her wild steelhead and salmon. There is no hatchery that can do what God has already done right, it's our job to let the river decide what's right for them.


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