Sunday, February 5, 2012
The salmon runs of my childhood in Idaho were in the South Fork of the Salmon River near Cascade and in the main fork of the Salmon River at the disabled Sunbeam Dam.
These runs have one primary reason for poor health - four U.S. Army Corps of Engineers dams in the Lower Snake River and an additional four Corps dams in the lower Columbia River.
Corps of Engineers dams must be removed to restore these runs. John McKern's recounting in his recent letter to the editor of the dam-building frenzy in Idaho of our forefathers is irrelevant to these runs.
The Corps has had decades to restore salmon runs in Idaho and Northeastern Oregon using its technological tools: Barging smolts, bypass systems, surface collectors, etc.
But all the wild runs remain depressed and continue to be listed under the Endangered Species Act.
The solution is dam removal.
Let's plan a mitigation strategy for wheat shippers and power users and do to federal dams what we're doing to private dams on the Elwha, the Rogue and the White Salmon rivers - remove them and restore the rivers to their historic fruitfulness.