Huge, southern resident orca-size kudos to U.S. Rep. Mike Simpson, R-Idaho, and Seattle Times reporter Lynda Mapes for “GOP congressman pitches $34 billion plan to breach Lower Snake River dams in new vision for Northwest” [Feb 7, Environment]. That said, I’m somewhat disappointed that when many beneficiaries of healthy chinook stocks are listed, there’s no mention of the iconic — and starving — southern resident orcas (at least 80% of their diet is chinook).
The article brought tears to my eyes, starting with the paragraph about a $500 million fund for dam owners who voluntarily take down obsolete dams, then Simpson’s eloquent and powerful 2019 speech in which, among other things, he described watching one chinook at the end of both her 900-mile journey and her life, but not before she did her part to ensure the survival of her species … dams be damned!
Regardless of when the four Lower Snake River Dams are breached, I hope a couple of small monuments are built near the site — near Stanley, Idaho — where Simpson watched the above-mentioned solitary chinook: one to that chinook and one for Simpson.
I’m sure many members of Congress have witnessed salmon spawning. Thus far, it seems Simpson is perhaps the only one who fully grasps the critical importance of this keystone species.
Errol E. Povah, Delta, B.C., second officer, Operation Milagro III, Sea Shepherd Conservation Society