Opinion

Editorial: Don't mess with successes of Northwest treaty tribes





Newspaper warns Northwest Power and Conservation Council not to upset salmon recovery efforts by treaty tribes:
The Northwest Power and Conservation Council – the powerful four-state entity that oversees hydropower operations in the Columbia-Snake system – is considering substantial cutbacks in salmon-hatchery operations. Citizens in our “salmon-centric” area should attend a public hearing this Thursday starting at 5:30 p.m. at Astoria’s Liberty Theater and let the council know what we think of these plans.

The council is comprised of two members each from Oregon, Washington, Montana and Idaho. Of these states, all but Montana will benefit greatly this year from robust salmon returns. It is little short of amazing that landlocked and dam-obstructed Idaho is seeing significant improvements in salmon returns after years when it appeared runs were in a death spiral. Oregon and Washington are in the midst of a salmon season garnering national attention. Sportsmen, commercial and tribal fishermen all benefit, as do consumers and connoisseurs, who will enjoy catches and meals to celebrate.

In what appears to be a good-hearted but naive effort to summarily switch off hatcheries and hope for more natural-spawning success, a proposal has been put forth by the council’s staff to cutback hatchery production above Bonneville by more than 20 percent. In an unpredictable interplay with ocean conditions and other factors, these cuts would begin to choke salmon returns three years following implementation.

Get the Story:
Editorial: Power council shouldn’t fiddle with hatcheries (The Daily Astorian 5/28)