I applaud the Columbia-Snake River Irrigators for supporting a new approach for the lower Snake River dams. Like all business owners, they face tough decisions to protect their investments. Yet, as salmon runs collapse, they see what we all see: change is coming. That change, as this summer has demonstrated beyond any doubt, is accelerated and exacerbated by climate change.
Due to the lower Snake River dams, outfitters, guides, commercial fishermen and restaurants have felt the onset of the “new normal” for decades. Now, soaring summer heat is pushing water temperatures to unsustainable levels. We want to save our iconic salmon runs yet we are quickly facing the moment of no return.
The Columbia-Snake River Irrigators Association’s proposal of a two-dam drawdown is a good start. However, the overwhelming majority of preeminent fish biologists agree that removing the lower Snake River dams is essential to protect endangered salmon and steelhead from extinction.
It’s time for a solution and for Washington Sen. Patty Murray and Gov. Jay Inslee to make good on their promise — which they made last May — to lead the region toward a comprehensive plan to save Northwest salmon.
Chris Hager, Vancouver