10/20/1999 -- -- A full-page advertisement in the New York Times focusing on the urgent need to remove four dams on the Lower Snake River features the findings of a recent Trout Unlimited-sponsored study establishing a timeline for Snake River spring and summer chinook salmon extinction unless major steps are taken to slow their decline.
The ad is the first in a four-part series in the Times highlighting the need to remove the Lower Snake dams: Ice Harbor, Little Goose, Lower Monumental and Lower Granite.
The Trout Unlimited extinction study, released in July, found that wild Snake River spring and summer chinook salmon could be extinct by 2017 without major improvements - such as removing the dams - to salmon passage and mainstem and tributary habitats. The study - conducted by Dr. Phillip Mundy, a well-respected and widely-published expert on Snake River salmon - utilizes fish counts from salmon spawning beds known as "redds," a method acknowledged to be the most reliable for forecasting salmon population trends.
A majority opinion has emerged among Pacific Northwest scientists that the best way to prevent the extinction of Snake River salmon is to remove these four dams to allow natural migration - both upstream and down. The dams are known to be the key factor preventing successful downstream migration of juvenile salmon to the ocean as well as upstream migration of returning adults to spawning habitat. Numerous "technological fixes," such as barging and trucking fish around dams and elaborate fish ladders have proved hugely expensive and equally ineffective.
The debate surrounding the need to remove the four Lower Snake dams has dragged on for decades at the expense of the salmon and once again faces the threat of political stalling. For this reason, each ad specifically encourages the public to call on Vice President Gore to 'get off the dime' and take responsibility for the Administration to make a dam removal decision.
Trout Unlimited is North America's leading coldwater conservation organization, dedicated to the conservation, protection and restoration trout and salmon fisheries and their watersheds. The organization has more than 110,000 members in 472 Chapters in North America
(Editors: contact Maggie Lockwood for a summary or full copy of the TU extinction study or click here to download it.