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Dams, Fish Farms and Pollution Decimate Local Salmon Populations, Leading to Wider Ecosystem Collapse in US

September 21, 2016 |

Chinook salmon in the fish ladder at the Hiram M Chittenden Locks near Seattle. Credit: Josh Larios (Wikimedia Commons)

“On the morning of September 3, atop Mount Grant, Governor Jay Inslee listened to the pleas of the orca group to remove dams from the Snake River to help replenish wild salmon stocks. In turn, he asked the group—which included both concerned scientists and citizens—questions about the importance of Columbia-Snake River Basin and its salmon to the orcas. The answer: With dams on the Columbia, there are fewer salmon, and with fewer salmon, the orcas will continue starving to death.

“We leave dams on rivers when they’re not needed anymore, continue to put toxins in the water and then build fish hatcheries and farms which have their own problems,” says Dr. Deborah Giles, research director at the Center for Whale Research who was one of the orca advocates who spoke to Inslee on Mount Grant. “Normally nature is resilient, but now the salmon have diminished to a level where they can’t rebound.”

At one point, the Columbia-Snake River Basin produced a greater amount of salmon than any other river system in the world. Each year, 10 to 16 million wild salmon returned each year to the basin to spawn. But today, just one percent of the historic number of fish return to the basin annually…”

Read on at: National Geographic

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