Re: Elwha dams: Will bringing down NW dams really help salmon?
Originally Posted by Chetco
This article could almost be about the American,Sac Feather,Yuba etc.
The Feather is where I did most of my Salmon fishing so I learned about the Feather River salmon history. Before the dam was built, people asked if building the Oroville dam would affect the Salmon and steelhead runs. The people wanting to build the Oroville dam told them "no it would not." - the dam builders lied. After the dam was built the Salmon and Steelhead runs declined. The fishermen and others got very angry at the Oroville dam builders. So the Oroville hatchery was built to appease hatchery salmon for the angry fishermen. Today. many of the angry fishermen have died and the newer generations have been reared on the hatchery salmon. Hatchery salmon are the only thing the newer fishermen generation knows. The older generation of fishermen remembered the great salmon and steelhead fishing before the Qroville dam was built. The record salmon caught was 88 lbs in the feather. Many hatchery salmon caught on the Feather today are about 20-25 lbs and less frequently 50 lbers are caught.
In the past 100 years or so , America was in a dam building mode for energy. water storage and flood control. " Since its completion in 1968, the Oroville Dam has allocated the flow of the Feather River from the Sacramento-San Joaquin Delta into the State Water Project's California Aqueduct, which provides a major supply of water for irrigation in the San Joaquin Valley as well as municipal and industrial water supplies to coastal Southern California, and has prevented large amounts of flood damage to the area – more than $1.3 billion between the years of 1987 and 1990."- from wikipedia. Dam building seem to have little concern for the wild salmon and steelhead in the rivers - just build more hatcheries.
US Wildlife preservation started picking up about the 1890s from the revelations of the near-extinction of the bison, Whooping Crane and the extinction of the Passenger Pigeon. The Lacey Act of 1900, Migratory Bird Conservation Act of 1929, Bald Eagle Protection Act of 1940, and the Endangered Species Preservation Act of 1966 are environmental federal laws that preceeded Endangered Species Act of 1973. In general, these federal environmental laws progress from bag limits(so the are not all killed to extinction) and expand for plants and animals. to Critical habitat - habitat protection and recovery goals, requiring the identification and protection of all lands, water and air necessary to recover endangered species. Salmon and steelhead are endangered species. Much of the Critical habitat for the Feather River native salmon and steelhead was sealed off by the building of the Oroville dam causing the a massive decline or extinction of the Feather river native salmon and steelhead. I wonder about the Feather river sturgeon population. How can habitat protection and recovery implemented on the Feather river - big big entangled problem which will make some happy and some unhappy.
Elwha dams: Will bringing down NW dams really help salmon?
The Elwha, which drains 20 percent of what is now Olympic National Park, flows north into the Strait of Juan de Fuca just west of Port Angeles. At least six species of salmon and trout once spawned in its watershed. Runs of pink salmon reached 100,000 fish. Individual chinook reached 100 pounds. Members of the Klallam tribe harvested the fish for centuries.
I liked this article and thought it was well written. The author(s) seemed to have done some research.
I crossed by the Elwah River several times in the last month. Yesterday was a recent crossing and I looked down at the river. It was a grey ash stain flowing toward the ocean. The grey was the silt that was trapped by the dams for nearly a 100 years. The banks on the rivers sides looked grey too. I expect the Elwah to live up to the Olympic Peninsula's reputation of a wild river, powerful floods of raging water from the rainforest heavy rains in winter, to wash the Elwah's silt out of the river.