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Opinion

Save Our Wild Salmon

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The Obama administration's plan for the Columbia Basin doesn't go nearly far enough.
 
by Carl Safina
Recently, a photograph made its way to me on the Internet: In a surging Alaskan stream, a grizzly bear stands with a salmon in its jaws, and in the shallows, a wolf -- keeping its distance -- also hoists a thrashing salmon. Your eye goes to the bear, then the wolf. But the salmon convened the meeting. Without the salmon, you'd see only water.

When salmon return from the sea, their bodies are the ocean made flesh. Their tails propel ocean nutrients upstream and into forests, rivers and range lands, where they benefit hundreds of other species. Everything else in the photograph -- trees, bushes, all the animals and plants in the forest and the water -- contains ocean nutrients from salmon.

And now add orcas to the web of life fed by salmon. New research tells us that, before salmon hit the flowing streams, they are by far the most important food for resident killer whales along the Pacific Coast.
 
 
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