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Friday, November 23, 2007

It's the water

The election is over, but the political campaigns grind on. Today amid the holiday junk mail we found this flyer:

Some outfit wants to force Pacific Power to blow up its hydroelectric dams on the Klamath River to restore streams for salmon to spawn in. Their pitch is that it would be cheaper to breach the dams than to try to bring them up to environmental standards. And supposedly we wouldn't miss the lost power:

It's a heck of a time of year to be trying to start a grassroots political campaign, but they're asking Oregon residents (or at least us Pacific customers) to send in a postcard to the Oregon public utility commissioners, asking them not to let the power company improve the dams and pass the costs on to ratepayers.

A closer look at the cover of the flyer reveals that it's from an outfit in Sacramento:

From the looks of this mailer, there's no reason on earth to keep those dams in place. I suspect the power company has a slightly different view. I wonder when they'll be sending out their flyer -- Christmas?

Comments (24)

The enviro-wackos are really picking up steam and financial backing (al gores crowd)When the wacko class choose fish or animals over people then it is clear that they need to be eliminated. Nothing short of caveman conditions will be good enough for the greenies. Wind power "no" Tide power "no"

Fight for your right to clean and efficient Hydro power. If a species is going to go extinct then that is they way it has to be.

I am always suspicious of the true motives of people who have the resources to produce and mail out thousands of high-gloss flyers and I don't know anything about the people behind this campaign.

In this case, though, I suspect the dam removal advocates are correct and that the dams should be breached. All the facts seem to show that salmon are nearing extinction and that the dams are one of the primary culprits. (Full disclosure: I also believe the Snake River dams should be breached straight away.)

Any map of the Klamath basin (Google "Klamath basin map" for multiple examples) will show that the Klamath basin straddles California and Oregon pretty equally, which might be a limited exception to the general rule about the healthy suspicion of Californians trying to influence Oregon political activity.

If a species is going to go extinct then that is they way it has to be.

Logic that just takes your breath away.

I get a kick out of the photo of the Helen Hunt type getting a splitting headache from her electric bill. I can't imagine blowing up the dams is going to ease that pain much.

Salmon aren't nearing extinction. Some of the runs on the Columbia are probably nearing extinction, but there are plenty of Salmon left in the world. Don't take my word for it, go down to Fred Meyer and take a look in the meat department display case.

That stuff mostly looks like wet plastic. Dams have taken most of the fun out of eating salmon.

I like the Columbia River Dams and the benefits they bring. Low cost renewable electricity, navigation, recreation and flood control. I can't really tell much difference when I eat a wild salmon versus a hatchery salmon. Moreover, I'm not sure dam removal in and of itself will cause a recovery in wild salmon runs what with large foreign fishing ships trolling for what's left of the endangered species. More hydro-power please.

There are more salmon killed in the Columbia system by the environmentally protected seals, comerants and terns than all the dams. And if you think the protected species need protection, you haven't been out on our rivers-they have taken over.

Let's stop the humans from playing God.

After the typical two decades of review and lawsuits by environmentalists on removing an overabundant specie from an endangered list, there are typically an imbalance perpetuated on another associated specie.

Yes! Let's stop the humans from playing God (by damming up God's river flows). Let's stop the humans from playing God (by forcing extinction of God's creatures). Let's stop the humans from playing God ...

It's a tradeoff, and it's hard to decide which is best between humans and the environment.

You know, I think a fish was actually harmed in the making of that brochure.

WILD salmon are nearing extinction and there is really no argument about that. If I could post hyperlinks in comments, I could list a dozen or more articles and research papers proving same.

And your federal government agencies under the Bush regime are not helping matters. Just ask federal judge James Redden.

What you see in Fred Meyer's display case are wild salmon's stupid cousin, the hatchery-bred version. Or worse, the farm raised fish with flesh so nauseating to the consumer that they have to be artificially colored to reproduce the red appearance of the meat so people will be fooled into buying them. (See the label of a farm raised fish next time you visit the "seafood" department of your favorite grocery or ask the clerk.)

I wouldn't eat a farm raised salmon for any price.

I'm no expert on Klamath Basin or Salmon, but my understanding is that removal of the dams is not just an issue for enviros.

Friends of mine on the coast were out of work in 2006 when the commercial salmon fishery was closed due to low numbers of salmon in the Klamath. The total impact was estimated as high as $100M. Removal of the dams (along with a habitat restoration effort) could restore hundreds of miles of salmon spawning/rearing habitat.

Why must we consider the issue in such a limiting way? Energy vs Environment. It's one or the other, we apparently cannot envision enhancing the co-existence of each? Having fished the river before the Irongates and Copco dams appeared, the damage has been done. There was a fabulous native steelhead population, so plentiful we always released the lot-save one for the smoker. - alotta work for a 5yr old. They are gone, never to return. There are still significant runs of salmon and steelhead which are helped technologically to return to their spawning gounds.
As I recall the utility concluded on the basis of the economics, weighing loss of the kwts vs needed improvement, it would not resist removal. If the utility finds no benefit from the energy production in light of the costs, then it seems prudent to remove them. It will help build healthier populations of existing fish and return nature to her former beauty.
Unfortunately my lunkers swim only in my memories. Peace

It is also worth remembering that wild salmon mean more than sport and food. When enormous numbers of enormous fish return from the ocean and make their way back up to their original tributaries, they are enriching the nutrient life of the rivers and riparian zones. It's a feast or everything living up there. What you see in streams and rivers that have lost runs is a comparative sterility. Less of a river and more of an irrigation ditch. They play a vital role in keeping those places alive.
As is the case with every animal facing extinction, it's all about habitat. And the numbers of fish that swim out to the Pacific—some north to Alaska, some south to California, some straight out to Japan—is in decline because of habitat loss. Dams are part of it. As is cattle pollution and agricultural runoff. And harvesting timber too close to streams deprives spawning salmon of the shade that keeps the water temperature low as well as the downed trees that slow the current enough to create beds. And the larger, more aggressive hatchery salmon that outcompete wild fish are also part of the problem.
In theory, the salmon populations can be saved and even restored. In practice, it will require making a serious commitment and sacrifices. And even then there are no guarantees.

And just to add one more thought here.
The larger framing of this issue as somehow a conflict of rights between humans and fish could not be more incorrect.

Humans have lived in this part of the world for at least 10,000 years thanks in part to these fish. They are harvested for sport, subsistence and commercial production and they are inextricably linked to the health of NW rivers and lands and even the ocean, and they are immensely economically useful. But unlike hydropower, they are not the product of our own ingenious cultivation, a public utility we have created. They are just jere.

What is the poper way to think about an animal we use so thoroughly but never even asked for? Somehow, to even think of wild salmon as a "natural resource" seems too narrow.

WILD salmon are nearing extinction and there is really no argument about that. If I could post hyperlinks in comments, I could list a dozen or more articles and research papers proving same.

Well, that's just plain silly. Bring on the old "scientific concensus" saw that AlGore likes to deploy. Yeesh. There is never scientific concensus, because science is all about questions and pushing the envelope of present knowledge.

Wild salmon are no closer to extinction than you are. Global Warming is no more All Your Fault than was Global Cooling, back in the 1970's. Really, kids today need to get over the idea that they are somehow so important that their decisions affect planetary and even universal realities.

******Bring on the old "scientific concensus" saw that AlGore likes to deploy.********

All I know is what I read in the newspapers. And that is 99.999% of scientists believe in Al Gore.

Of course it's probably just the MSM making up stuff again. By the way according to today's Columbian Lars was caught making up a quote by Wa Gov Chris Gregoire. I guess you can't trust anyone anymore.

Greg C

How come it's always the anti-environment wackos that can't spell or put a sentence together? Coincidence? I think not.

Yeah, that 1.3 degree average temperature rise we have experienced in the last 100 years or so. Explains everything. Sell your parkas and long underwear folks!

People claim the "neocons" are all about keeping the populace in a constant state of fear about terrorism...well the same thing could be said about the AlGore fanatics and global warming.

And isnt it funny how if you dont fall in with the current hysteria about global warming you are somehow "anti-environment".

******And isnt it funny how if you dont fall in with the current hysteria about global warming you are somehow "anti-environment".*******

Ok. All together now. Can we all say "In denial." Boys & Girls.

Greg C

Denial about what? Less than 2 degrees increase in temp in 100 years? Sure, I agree with that. That we have proof of.
It just doesnt wash that with all the scientific minds in the world, the only conclusion they can come to is "man did it?"
Talk about delusions of grandeur.

Yeah, science. Who needs it?

What will it be next from these crazy environazis? Now I hear they are bitching about wave and wind power too!? Why don't they shut up and sit in the dark if they don't like energy?


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