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Trevor Howard

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Can we restore salmon runs without hurting our economy?

Salmon are the lifeblood of fisheries in the Pacific Northwest, yet they have been in steep decline ever since Euro-Americans settled in the region. Up and down the West Coast of the United States, the past decade has seen a number of unprecedented collapses from the Sacramento River in California to the Kenai River in Alaska. Various reasons from over harvest to voracious predation have been cited as reasons for this collapse but seemingly the largest reason is a loss of spawning habitat. In a nation that relies upon dams and logging to sustain its population, are there feasible means of restoring these runs to their historic strengths without disrupting the economy? Also, do you believe the removal of large dams like the Elwah, Klamath and Snake River dams will benefit both humanity and the fish?

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      Jun 12 2012: I understand the fact that fish ladders can be useful in aiding fish migration upstream, but juvenile fish rarely use them when they move downstream. Typically, dams still provide a massive barrier as juveniles either swim into turbines or are dumped over a massive spillway that opens them up to severe predation and very significant losses of migrating fish over time.
      Not to mention, dams significantly alter the natural flow regime of a river while also blocking the downstream movement of sediments like gravel that are necessary for salmon spawning. Fish ladders, along with hatcheries were thought to be the solution, but it has become apparent that they are not enough.
      • Jun 14 2012: maybe not enough but they are a step in the right direction,

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