Have you ever read the plans for various projects and noticed the cavalier attitude toward mitigation. If something is there and it is worth money, we will move heaven and earth to get at it. I was reading about a gold mine located near a steam with salmon and steelhead present. The report was pretty quick to say how the mining company would deal with this inconvenience of a stream with salmon and steelhead being located near the gold they wanted to dig out of ground owned by the American people. It simply said relocate the stream. Here's an activity that will crush scores of tons of rock to get at one ounce of gold because that is economically feasible and will make the owners rich. Think about that for a minute, we willingly crush literally millions of tons of rock to get at an ounce of gold per 50 or 70 tons or whatever the claim can do and that makes sense to us. It makes so much sense that gold mines are going back into production all over the west. At this mine, salmon and steelhead are inconveniently located in the stream. They've inconveniently been located in that stream for tens of thousands of years at the minimum, but we'll just mitigate and relocate the stream.
Maybe those interested in salmon recovery should (even though you shouldn't have to mitigate to return something to its natural state) think about mitigation practices for salmon recovery.
I see that the Federal Energy Regulatory Commission slapped the Bonneville Power Administration over their decision to order wind power producers to shutdown this spring during runoff. I also see that wind power generation in the Pacific Northwest has grown from 500 megawatts in 2006 to 6,000 megawatts today. If that is integrated with the hydropower generated by other dams (not the lower 4 Snake River dams) and gas plants it is more than twice the power generated by the lower Snake River dams. Well, it seems someone has already done the mitigating for me on the power side.
Dam supporters, if this were a chess board, you just lost your queen.
I have also noted that shipping on the lower Snake River has taken a drastic turn for the worse over the past 20 years. It's down almost 50 percent since the early 1990s. About all you've got to cling to these days are those megaloads. Perpetuating the extinction of Snake River salmon so Canada can suck its rocks dry of oil, that's not a strong or popular position to be in.
What about irrigation? Exactly, what about irrigation? There's hardly any irrigation going on from these dams and their reservoirs and the irrigation that is happening can be replaced with a longer pipe stretched into a free flowing lower Snake River when the light finally switches on in the heads of everyone that "hey, we've replaced the power of these dams, we aren't using the shipping lanes like we did in the past and irrigation is a moot point." Maybe, just maybe, in the deep, dark reaches of the minds of normal people they will finally see that we are on the precipice of salmon recovery and all we need now is the critical mass to breach the dams that stand in the way of Snake River salmon recovery.
The critical mass comes from regular people all over the Pacific Northwest. When regular people begin to reject the perpetuated lies of the Bonneville Power Administration, et. al. and understand 86 percent of the fisheries biologist community isn't somehow in cahoots with Al Gore and wolf reintroduction, maybe, just maybe, we can breach the dams and the salmon can recover on their own.