Monday, August 16, 2010

Big Spill = Big Dollars, Big Fun & River Health

In his Op Ed piece on, Oregon fishing guide, Bob Rees sheds light on the role that court-ordered spill over the federal dams has played in bringing back large numbers of steelhead and salmon to the Columbia Basin. Sadly, this spill program is missing from the Obama salmon plan. In recent years recreational fishing organizations as a part of a larger coalition, pressed the federal government to spill water for out-migrating juvenile fish. The courts enforced a spill program and today we see the results.

It's clear that anglers get the simple truth of letting salmon smolts migrate in the river vs. taking a lethal ride in a government barge… when a river runs like a river, fish respond positively, coming back home in droves. When the system works, recreational opportunities abound. These angling opportunities translate to money spent in our towns, local businesses that thrive and a great quality of life for all who live in, or travel to the Snake River corridor.

The spill program and its positive results suggest a way forward... towards opportunity. The time is right for stake-holders to discuss the fact that actual salmon recovery will require dialogue, accurate science, true accounting and a willingness to discuss real solutions. Charting this course will allow a win-win for all stakeholders. The Obama Administration's salmon plan offers little in the way of hope in this regard. It is time to write Senators Cantwell and Murray and tell them that recovered runs of wild Snake River salmon and steelhead equals money in our pockets, healthy rivers and smiles on all of our faces!

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