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Restoring the Lower Snake River

milesNov. 13, 2017

Our Columbia-Snake wild steelhead and salmon are sounding the alarm this year, and we would do well to listen. Returns of this iconic species to our rivers were as low as they've been in decades.

Recovering wild salmon is about so much more than saving a fish. Our entire ecosystem, culture and Northwest economy are built on the back of salmon.

For the Nez Perce, my people, it goes deeper than that. Our way of life is inextricably linked with these fish - they have been a vital and irreplaceable piece of our lives and culture for tens of thousands of years.

The United States promised my people we would be guaranteed this way of life in exchange for millions and millions of acres of land.

Thanks to the Lewiston Tribune for your recent story and editorial on this issue. It's not news to us that we need a bold new direction if we are to restore wild salmon.

Of this, we, along with stakeholders throughout the basin, biologists, economists and the courts agree: This system cries out for a new and bold approach.

Lower Snake River dam removal is at the heart of any real and lasting recovery effort. We have alternatives for transportation and for energy, but we don't have alternatives for wild salmon.

It is time for hydro to share in its conservation burden. It's long past time we have the courage to do what it takes to save them - and ourselves - in the process.

Rebecca A. Miles, Lapwai ID

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