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Save Our Wild Salmon

Salmon options
The issue of the Obama administration's recently released salmon plan for the Columbia basin is perplexing. While many in the Northwest remain skeptical about the plan's ability to get the region what it really needs - healthy, sustainable populations of wild salmon in our rivers - many also balk at the notion that Judge James Redden could rule another salmon plan illegal.

The editorial, "Don't wait for transformation" (The Daily Astorian, Sept. 21), seemed to echo this skepticism. Yet with a plan that is so strikingly similar to the George Bush salmon policies, how could we assume anything different? I'm led to wonder how the federal government thinks it can get away with letting a species, especially one that helps form the fabric of the Northwest, decline toward extinction when there are clearly other available options.

I hope Judge Redden has the courage to call for some sort of settlement process that includes stakeholders and can take a hard look at all options for our region's treasured fish.

Dam alternatives
Recovering salmon is challenging because there is so much at stake. Our ecosystem, our economy and our energy sources are all affected. But I'd like to think the Northwest is up to the challenge. Unfortunately, aside from vague contingency measures for fish, the Obama administration's latest salmon plan for the Columbia River basin provides the same cynical road map for treading water on recovering wild salmon. Communities that depend on this resource will continue to lose out.

The Sept. 21 editorial ("Don't wait for transformation," The Daily Astorian) is right to add another huge wrinkle: the dramatic effect climate change poses for the Northwest. In light of this threat, why not provide salmon a renewed corridor through the Snake River basin, which houses the best habitat in the continental U.S. and once produced half of the salmon in the entire Columbia watershed? Let's explore alternatives to the low-value dams on the Snake River now, not some distant future.




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