Some five billion hatchery salmon and steelhead are released into the North Pacific each year, including fish from 155 salmon, steelhead and trout hatcheries in the Northwest. But it’s the natural populations of fish that biologists believe to be the most resilient to climate change, according to a series of oral presentations at the 145th American Fisheries Society conference in Portland.
With three treatments of fish production – segregated hatchery, integrated or conservation hatchery, and reserved areas for natural spawning only – it’s the segregated model that seems to be disappearing from use. Part of the reason may be the fitness of hatchery salmon, according to many of the speakers at the conference.
Americans have been building dams to harness rivers for energy production, irrigation, flood control and water storage since the late 1800s. To fuel a growing appetite for electricity, dam building reached a crescendo around World War II. At the time, hydropower provided three-quarters of the West’s electricity and one-third of the country’s, according to the U.S. Bureau of Reclamation.
But its grip on the country’s power grid has slipped amid competing energy sources, and today hydropower provides just one-tenth of the country’s electricity.
This powerful film odyssey across America explores the sea change in our national attitude from pride in big dams as engineering wonders to the growing awareness that our own future is bound to the life and health of our rivers. Dam removal has moved beyond the fictional Monkey Wrench Gang to go mainstream. Where obsolete dams come down, rivers bound back to life, giving salmon and other wild fish the right of return to primeval spawning grounds, after decades without access. DamNation’s majestic cinematography and unexpected discoveries move through rivers and landscapes altered by dams, but also through a metamorphosis in values, from conquest of the natural world to knowing ourselves as part of nature.
Watch the trailer here: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=8X2dYnTX55E
Following the film we will have a Q&A session with special guests.
JIM WADDELL, Retired Army Corps Engineer
Jim Waddell is featured in the film, and is working to expose the enormous and growing economic costs of the Lower Snake River Dams.
SHARON GRACE, orca advocate, consumer attorney, and coordinator of Southern Resident Killer Whale Chinook Salmon Initiative (SRKW CSI). SRKWCSI is working on political campaigns to help remove the Lower Snake River Dams in order to save the Southern Resident orcas and salmon populations.
D.A. GILES, Research Director at the Center for Whale Research.
CARL CHRISTIAN, salmon biologist, Retired Army Corps Engineer
Come prepared to learn about this incredibly important issue surrounding the Puget Sound orcas and salmon. You will have the opportunity to make a real difference the night of the event and you will leave inspired to do more.
Please join us for this special evening in Edmonds, WA
*This is a free event but donations are welcome. 100% of the donations collected will go towards the efforts to breach the dams and revive the orca and salmon populations.
The Edmonds Theater – 415 Main Street Edmonds, WA 98020
Prepared by: Carl Christianson, Biologist, retired USACE; Sharon Grace, Attorney; Jim Waddell, P.E., retired USACE
This report was sent to the following officials in early November 2015:
Senator Patty Murray Senator Maria Cantwell Governor Jay Inslee LTG Thomas P. Bostick–USACE Jo-Ellen Darcy–USACE Eileen Sobeck–NOAA Sally Jewell–Secty, Dept of Interior Christy Goldfuss–CEQ Sonya L. Baskerville–DOE/BPA Rep. Hans Dunshee–WA State Rep. Jim McDermott Rep. Derek Kilmer Senator Mike Crapo, Idaho Rep. Rick Larsen Governor Kate Brown, Oregon Jim Unsworth–Director, WDFW
The Olympian Letter to the Editor Christina M. Price, Rochester
I just finished reading “Into Great Silence” by Eva Saulitis about a pod of 22 transient orcas that frequented Prince William Sound. The pod will become extinct in our lifetime because of the Exxon Valdez disaster.
We are the stewards of three resident pods of orcas and if we don’t do something now we will guarantee their extinction. The southern resident killer whales have enjoyed a lot of press recently with the births of five baby orcas. Don’t let the baby boom fool you – these pods are on the brink of disaster. The number of females of reproductive age in each pod is dangerously low.
Of the five babies born this year only one is confirmed female. The runs of chinook salmon, their main food, are close to extinction. Oil companies are fighting to increase tanker traffic in The Salish Sea; one spill could virtually wipe out all three pods.
So what do we do? First, support The Center for Whale Research; they need members and financial support to continue their vital work.
Second, tell your government it’s time to demolish the dams on the Snake River to give salmon a fighting chance to recover, and let them know you are against oil tanker traffic in The Salish Sea. We must seize our chance to save the southern residents while we still can. If we don’t we will have no one to blame but ourselves when the last southern resident takes its last breath into great silence.
“It’s rare with any endangered species to rejoice–but the birth of six new orca whale calves this year to the J, K, and L pods has the Pacific Northwest breaching for joy. In any culture, we celebrate long-awaited births with gifts. What can we offer these orca families to commemorate their newborns, this happy “baby boom” after three years of heart-breaking losses of their calves? We can finally make good our government promises by tearing down the Snake River dams and so help nourish orcas with the Chinook salmon they need to thrive.” Read full article…
“Yet they [Southern Resident Killer Whales] face a major problem — a lack of food. The mighty rivers of the West — including the Columbia Snake River watershed, a key source of Chinook — have been broken. Though the Columbia Snake once brought salmon all the way from inland northern Nevada to the Pacific Ocean, today it is full of dams. The four lower Snake River dams kill millions of Chinook juveniles every year as they attempt to migrate downriver to the ocean.” Read the full story here…
The Fish Passage Center (FPC) staff received two similar requests for summaries of water temperature data, management actions, and adult sockeye passage in 2015. One request was submitted by Oregon Department of Fish and Wildlife and Washington Department of Fish and Wildlife technical staff, and one was a citizen request. Read the full report here.
On October 27th, 2015, eight highly-respected Pacific Northwest fisheries scientists responded to Will Stelle’s recent column in the Seattle Times titled “NOAA Fisheries embraces- not ignores- climate research”. Read the full response here.
Working to breach Lower Snake River dams to save millions of tax dollars annually, bring wealth & jobs to a region and restore salmon runs which will increase prey availability for southern resident orcas.