Lack of salmon passage hurts fishermen

To keep producing swimming pool water, green lawns and golf courses in the desert you have to kill wild and hatchery salmon and California is not slowing down one bit.

Published on May 11, 2017 8:35AM


I want you to name one dam built in Idaho that has a working fish ladder, or was built with the intent to have a fish ladder but got a senatorial dispensation to forgo that cost.

Why shouldn’t Idaho Power and ratepayers pay to keep salmon from extinction? There is no free lunch in energy production, and you fail to mention that Oregon taxpayers are still on the hook for renewable energy tax forgiveness to foreign companies who have so many tax credits they sold them to other mega-national companies to reduce their state taxes.

I live here. I have paid my dues. I am going to be asked by the liberal bunch of legislators to cover up their give-aways with higher taxes so they can give raises to the poor public employees whose pension and health care costs have become a considerable burden to everyone who lives and works in Oregon. The money should have been there but the Blue State power broker Democrats sold us out to have environmental cred on the record.

The late Sens. Borah and Church from Idaho carried water for privately owned Idaho Power to build dams that were connected to Oregon and blocked salmon access to the North Fork Clearwater River (Dworshak Dam) and all of the Snake River and its tributaries above Hells Canyon (Hells Canyon, Oxbow and Brownlee dams).

No fish ladders and those who fish had their livings depleted along with the fish runs. There is no free lunch, and why should Idaho get one now?

So Oregon lost fish runs in the Owyhee (and is guilty of Owyhee dam with no fish passage, which denied steelhead access to Nevada and the Jarbidge country) and after Hells Canyon cut off the Snake, Phillips Reservoir on the Powder River was built without a fish ladder. Pine Creek has no access for salmon anymore, as well as other smaller streams.

Stinkingwater Pass and Creek were named to reflect the annual stench of decomposing spawned out salmon. But, hell, there are plenty of salmon in Alaska, and that was the mindset of the 1940s-1970s.

So when the FERC process examines access for salmon, people have been hurt, for a long time, by dam building and denied access to salmon, and having fish transport and reintroduction is only fair.

My ox is being gored — has been my whole fishing career. No Oregon troller can now fish south of the south Jetty at Florence on the Siuslaw River to the California border. It is impacting all the commercial and recreational fishing from Brookings to Winchester Bay. The problem is that no fish ladders on the Klamath River dams and the dewatering of the Trinity River, the cold water tributary to the lower Klamath, for irrigation to the Westlands Irrigation District 600 evaporative miles south in the rain shadow desert directly east of the California coast range.

Fishermen and consumers of wild fish are impacted by no Idaho Power fish ladders or fish transportation. They need to now step up and provide that. After all, they are using the river to produce electricity at a cost to downriver users.

No river of any size on the California coast north of Marin County is allowed to flow freely to the sea. All are diverted to other watersheds and irrigation of grapes to fill the wealthy’s swimming pools and to water lawns.

To keep producing swimming pool water, green lawns and golf courses in the desert you have to kill wild and hatchery salmon and California is not slowing down one bit. Enjoy the salmon tainted almonds, tomatoes, pistachios, grapes and wine.

John Thomas Jr.

F/V Solimar

Newport, Ore.



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