The collaborative plan proposed in “GOP congressman pitches $34 billion plan to breach Lower Snake River dams in new vision for Northwest” is a refreshing, thoughtful approach to the breaching of the Snake River Dams to save salmon from extinction. The efforts of Idaho Rep. Mike Simpson and his associates to get information and ideas from many regional parties to formulate this plan is commendable.
I am impressed that this plan not only includes some possible solutions to problems caused by the breaching but also encourages thoughtful discussion among participating groups to improve and, eventually, apply the plan. It is particularly gratifying that this plan was composed by people of Eastern Washington and Idaho, who will be directly affected by the dam alterations, not by Western Washington urbanites.
However, one major group was not mentioned: the national and international open-ocean fisheries. These massive operations have depleted populations of oceangoing salmon by reducing the number of mature, fertile adults before they begin their migrations to the breeding streams. Stronger, enforceable national and international laws and treaties are needed.
And, lastly, reduction of salmon and steelhead numbers may be inevitable in this time of global warming. One does hope that these fish will be able to migrate into cooler waters or adapt over time to warm-water environments.
Sharon Thomsen, M.D., Sequim
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