Curt Miller represents the small portion of the population in the Columbia Basin benefiting from four dams on the Lower Snake River. So, it makes perfect sense that he wrote an editorial against breaching them. He says global warming is affecting fish everywhere. That is true.

I have a friend in Alaska right now who doesn’t know which river to fish because they are all full of salmon. He didn’t bother fishing in Idaho this year. Why does Alaska teem with salmon but not Idaho? Dams and climate. As the planet continues to warm, the best hope for any salmon in the Columbia Basin lies in the Stanley Basin, the highest salmon destination. As snow levels continue to rise, tributaries to the Columbia at lower elevations in Washington and Oregon will lose their salmon.

Yes, sockeye salmon were removed from the system at Lower Granite Dam because the water upstream was lethally warm. Would it have been lethal to fish that hadn’t already been through the trauma of navigating seven dams? Lower Granite is the only {span}Bonneville Power Administration{/span} facility capable of trapping. It is also the only BPA facility with sensors to count smolts on their downstream migration, verifying downstream mortality. Downstream migration can kill 80% percent of smolt populations. If salmon don’t make it to Stanley because of four dams that keep shipping costs low for those Miller represents, but serve no purpose to the larger population of the Columbia Basin, eventually there will be no Columbia Basin salmon.

Steve Liebenthal


Recommended for you