Letter: Salmon ‘recovery’ isn’t working



As a faithful reader of Don Brunell’s column in The Columbian’s Business section, I was surprised that he used 1,070 sockeye and 27,000 fall chinook as an indicator of recovery in his May 8 column, “Removing 4 lower Snake River dams just a bad idea.” Brunell writes from an economic-business perspective, as he should. However, The Columbian needs broader perspective.

When the Columbia and Snake river dams went in, no one knew the impact on fish. Now we know.

Efforts to recover salmon runs have been unsuccessful. Lewis and Clark journals describe an unlimited abundance of salmon. Our efforts have only kept the last salmon from dying, we haven’t restored salmon to what is possible.

We have destroyed the abundance by overfishing, killing native fish with gill nets, and destroying habitat.

The Kenai River in Alaska has an abundance of salmon. Fishermen from all over the world travel to Alaska for their fishing. The Kenai has no dams and no gill nets. Alaskans are taking care of their river.

We need to take care of our Columbia River. The Corps of Engineers built locks for barges and fish ladders to move the adult salmon upriver. Originally, nothing was provided for smolt to move downriver. We didn’t protest because we didn’t know what would happen. Now we know.

Jon C. Anderson