Over the last few days Columbia River Salmon have been experiencing an increase in exposure in Oregon’s journalistic sphere. Scott Learn with the Oregonian writes in the article ‘Measuring Salmon Data in the Stream of the Columbia River Basin’ that a serious undertaking is happening now in what can only be described as a massive survey of Salmon habitats. The Bonneville Power Administration is the largest spender with over $15 million invested in habitat research. Little surprise as they operate the power supply coming from the dams on the river. Rather then shut down the dams they hope to find ways to enrich the habitat to ensure a larger percentage of salmon survivors during the run. State and federal Governments, as well as native tribal governments do a lot of survey work now but the current survey will be one of the most complete of the regions habitat. The work is not without opponents though as several of the administrative organizations associated with the river and power in the region question the cost and effectiveness of the program.
Oregon Public Broadcasting highlighted the Future of Our Salmon Conference in Portland this week. The keynote speaker of the event noted the importance of the annual conference when for once, there was not a major emergency to be dealt with. This wasn’t meant to mean there wasn’t still issues at hand though as Cassandra Profita’s article pointed out. There were still ten major issues to address in the near future: helping fish over dams, toxic pollutants, hatcheries and their funding, catching and keeping wild fish, killing the predators, climate change, sharing water with Canada, taking some salmon of the endangered species list, full recovery(long term), and who will be around to ensure full recovery.
One major issue associated with the salmon recovery is the killing of sea lions, a major predator of the salmon, to force their population back into balance. Twitter was a buzz with the humane societies efforts to force back the bill allowing the killing of the sea lions at the mouth of the Columbia river. Most pointed to an article by Rob Hotakainen regarding the issues. The Humane Society says that the killing is not only unnecessary but is dangerous for the humans doing it as well.
The issue will unfold over the next few weeks as the courts make their rulings deciding the fate of the sea-lions and as research teams start to bring in preliminary data on the habitats. Ultimately, it is a choice of which resources are to be sacrificed in order to protect others.