Mid-Columbia River steelhead have one decreasing population, 13 stable and one increasing.
Snake River spring/summer chinook have one population decreasing and 23 they define as stable.
OK, if you want to do it that way, then yes, I can see what Mark Twain was saying.
In the overall viability department you will see if you read the BiOp, page 49 hard copy or page 51 on the PDF, that they rate viability for 77 populations and 50 of those populations are rated high risk as to viability. Three of those populations are rated viable, two highly viable and the remaining 22 populations are maintained. The picture is a bit muddied here.
Back to sockeye, the endangered Snake River ones being kept alive by massive human endeavor, which are the most endangered of the bunch. I want to share the returns since 1999, because I have shown the 90s numbers before and the BiOp only goes back to 1999.
1999 7 returned
2000 257 returned
And I counted this year's over Lower Granite on my iPhone app to be ...
Yes, those numbers are trending upward compared to the dismal 90s returners, but nothing that suggests recovery is on any horizon. The only thing we can expect is that we will have highly domesticated sockeye coming back in small numbers. This is not the time to rest on some less than impressive laurels.
So, we've got this draft BiOp, which looks like somebody at NOAA copied and pasted the 2008 version and made a couple of edits and additions. And you've only got until Monday to comment on it. I don't know what the shutdown does to this comment period.
The point is, recovery is the reason we have an Endangered Species Act. This BiOp wants to stand pat mostly and cut back on spill because they believe that most likely the populations won't go extinct over the five years of this BiOp.
I look through these numbers and I see that most are actually trending down since the 2008 BiOp.
Returns per spawner, where the rubber meets the road, are mostly down when you read the new information versus the 2008 BiOp.
Snake River spring/summer chinook
Catherine Creek down
Minam River down
Wenaha River down
Lostine/Wallowa rivers down
Imnaha River down
S.F. Salmon mainstem down
Secesh River down
East Fork of the S.F. Salmon down
Big Creek down
Bear Valley/Elk Creek down
Marsh Creek down
Sulphur Creek down
Camas Creek down
Loon Creek down
Lemhi River down
And on and on it goes, but worse many of these spawners don't get at least one return for their efforts.
This isn't and their numbers show this isn't a time for status quo, illegal BiOps and clearly this isn't a time to roll back spill, which is the only improvement that has been made that has shown better results.
But I'm not here to argue from the middle. A free flowing river is the only guaranteed way for wild salmon and steelhead to recover and that's why you have to demand that these agencies look into breaching the four lower Snake River dams honestly and thoroughly so that you and I can make a sensible decision that can allow for wild salmon and steelhead recovery in the Snake River Basin.
We have a choice, a simple one for me, do we want to be the last generation that witnessed these great, wild fish or do we want to be the generation that can stand up and say we saved them by removing our obstructions? I choose a future with rivers choked with wild salmon and steelhead, a world where their abundance challenges our notions to revere them. In that future bio diverse world we will be enriched beyond our faculties to appreciate all that these fish mean to us and what they mean to the flora and fauna that envelops us. And that's when our job is done. Wouldn't it be great if our government agencies looked at salmon in that light rather than the cash cow, so long as they stay threatened and endangered, that builds their bureaucracies and sustains and increases their power?