February 3, 2020
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Focus on Puget Sound


Removing Snake River dams is misguided approach to saving orcas

By Todd Myers and Steve Martin

The struggle to increase salmon populations and help Southern Resident killer whales will be won or lost through recovery projects across the state, perhaps most importantly in Puget Sound.

That simple, scientific reality should guide salmon recovery in Washington. Distractions, like the destruction of the Snake River dams, will end up harming salmon, orcas and those who care about them.

The science is clear that Puget Sound is the most important source of food for starving orcas. NOAA Fisheries and the state Department of Fish and Wildlife ranked their sources of food for orca and found that the Puget Sound, Strait of Georgia, the Lower Columbia and the Fraser rivers are the top priorities. The Snake River ranked ninth.

This is why NOAA Fisheries has repeatedly concluded that destroying the four lower Snake River dams would have a "marginal" impact on orca recovery, despite a very high cost...

Todd Myers is a member of the Puget Sound Salmon Recovery Council and environmental director of the Washington Policy Center in Seattle. Steve Martin previously served as executive coordinator of Gov. Jay Inslee's Salmon Recovery Office.

Read the full op-ed in The News Tribune