Snake River salmon runs are increasing. Apparently nobody told the governor.
The runs of returning Chinook salmon on the Snake River are increasing. The State of Washington reports Snake River Fall Chinook are “approaching goal” of recovery. Snake River Spring/Summer Chinook returns increased for the second year, recovering from a cyclical natural low in 2019, and returns are expected to increase again next year.
These basic truths, backed up by the actual scientific data need to be repeated because Governor Inslee and many on the environmental Left are not being honest about the state of rising salmon populations in the Snake.
For example, on October 14th at the Washington Conservation Voters’ virtual fundraiser, the governor said, “We know the salmon are on the verge of extinction.” This statement is simply incorrect.
The 2021 Snake River Spring/Summer Chinook run was 27 percent larger than in 2020 and 55 percent larger than in 2019, the low point of the recent natural cycle. These cycles are regular, which is why in 2019 I wrote, “Some people point to low runs in 2019 on the Snake as evidence that we need to remove the dams. Salmon populations run in a cycle, however, and we are seeing the same low runs across the region.” That prediction has proven correct.
The governor says he is hiring a contractor to produce a report about the dams that will be released next summer. The governor did the same thing just two years ago, paying $397,000 in public money to hire a contractor who produced a report on the Snake River dams. To ensure the new report delivers the desired answer, the focus of the study is being narrowed to examine, in the governor’s words, “how to replace those services” provided by the dams, not whether those services, so essential to the people of our state, even need to be “replaced”.
Any study based on the false premise that Snake River Chinook are near extinction, however, will be based on politics not science.