In his Op-Ed “Compromise, not litigation, needed in Nooksack River Basin water rights” [Jan. 2, Opinion], Larry Stap cries crocodile tears for salmon.

After walking away from negotiations on water rights and salmon for three decades, now is the time to avoid adjudication? Without the threat of adjudication, many Whatcom County farmers will continue to ignore the tribes, Department of Ecology, the Growth Management Act, the Endangered Species Act, Futurewise and anyone who threatens their water.

Maybe some of these farmers should join the new century with modern ideas on crops that use less water in the critical summer months. Industrial hemp? Vegetables on drip systems? Maybe amend the GMA to make 10-acre parcels rural rather than five acres, and limit the number of aquifer-draining wells.

Stap’s threats of legal Armageddon and rural sprawl ring hollow to many of us in the Fourth Corner. Who speaks for the salmon industry in Whatcom County? For that matter, who speaks for the salmon? Let’s not forget that all salmon in Water Resource Inventory Area (WRIA) 1 require ecological flow at all stages of their life history, whether natural origin or hatchery origin fish.

John Hymas and Shannon Moore, Bellingham