LETTERS TO THE EDITOR - Transporting fish improves survival


Judge Redden has ruled again. The federal agencies have not done a good enough job with the biological opinion for operating the dams. They have two years to try again. In the meantime his spill-to-kill-fish plan continues.

The federal agencies tried again to tell him that tons of science collected over the past 50 years plainly show that transporting fish around the dams at 98 percent survival gets more fish to the ocean alive than in river passage with at best 65 percent survival. Ocean survival controls returns.

Yet there are too many who ignore the facts. The Pacific Coast Federation of Fishermen's Associations. said "... the federal government has spent nearly 20 years spending enormous sums of money foolishly by doing all the wrong stuff. Facing the problem squarely, including potential removal of the four fish-killing dams on the lower Snake River, will create many thousands more jobs, revive the fishing industry, save billions of dollars for taxpayers and lead in the development of clean, renewable, more efficient energy."

It's been over 20 years and cost billions, but salmon runs are returning at record numbers. A lot of foolish things have been done, many demanded by Judge Redden himself. Those four fish-killing dams now provide adult fish survival over 99 percent and juvenile fish survival over 95 percent per project. If you don't believe it, try reading some of those tons of reports.

The last time the judge decided the federal government had not done a good enough job, you, the taxpayers paid the plaintiffs' lawyers over $1.2 million. You will no doubt be paying again.

I recently drove to Portland. I was astounded at the number "clean, renewable, more efficient" windmills I saw. Quick math told me that it would take 945 two-megawatt wind turbines (the big ones) to match the 1,890 megawatts John Day Dam could produce.

Annual river flow from the Columbia Basin is every bit as clean and renewable as the wind. It is also more reliable and serves other important purposes like water borne transportation and recreation.

Commercial, tribal and sport fishermen have this year enjoyed fisheries not seen in decades. They could have caught more fish, but wasn't that one of the reasons the 12 million to 16 million salmon returning to the Columbia in the 1800s was reduced to less than 500,000 over Bonneville Dam in 1938?

John McKern
Walla Walla


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