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Guest Opinion: Restoring Salmon

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Guest Opinion: Restoring Salmon

A recent guest opinion told Source readers we should consider "feasible alternatives" for salmon reintroduction above the Pelton Round Butte Hydroelectric Project—the facility Portland General Electric and the Confederated Tribes of Warm Springs co-own and operate near Madras. But the alternative suggested would not meet the goals of the reintroduction project: to restore self-sustaining and harvestable runs of Chinook, sockeye and steelhead to the upper Deschutes Basin.

We developed a comprehensive strategy to move fish around the dams and fix another important problem—the fact that the way water moved through the dams distorted seasonal temperature patterns down river. Learn about our strategy at PortlandGeneral.com/ProtectingFish.

The 20-plus organizations collaborating on this long-term program knew we would have to learn and adjust along the way, so our project license incorporates adaptive management. This means we make improvements to reflect new information, adopting feasible alternatives when supported by good science.

For example, research shows juvenile fish travel at night, so now we generate power at night during peak migration, increasing flow to our collection facility to attract more fish. In 2017 and 2018, we captured our highest percentage of juvenile fish yet.

Adaptive management changes also contributed to this year's upper-basin spring Chinook returns. The total—47 fish—is not large, but of the entire Deschutes adult spring Chinook run, a much higher percentage came from the upper basin than ever before. We have a long way to go, but fish passing through our project are on the road to recovery, despite poor ocean conditions and dismal overall Columbia Basin returns.

We're also designing a guidance net that should further improve downstream migration—an effective tool on other rivers. This is one of many related fish passage, water quality and habitat improvement projects across the basin you can read about at PRBFishCommittee.com.

The guest-opinion proposal sounds easy: "simply truck out-migrating fish from the tributaries around not only the dams, but Lake Billy Chinook as well." In fact, we're implementing a similar strategy for some hatchery releases, along with acclimating the fish in tributaries before migration. We think this can help jumpstart returns of Chinook and steelhead. But it can't replace the current system.

That's because we want more than an expanded hatchery program. We want to restore wild fish runs. To collect wild fish upstream, new and far more disruptive, river-straddling traps would be needed for each Lake Billy Chinook tributary. Fisheries managers found this impractical when we first evaluated reintroduction strategies. If we did try it, years of refining and troubleshooting would follow, and the existing system would still be required for water temperature management and wild sockeye capture (because they rear in the lake).

Rather than start over, we remain committed to moving forward. We have reaffirmed our ambitious goals for Deschutes Basin salmon and steelhead restoration, and have innovative strategies, an adaptive process, and a team of collaborative partners—backed by major investments on behalf of Tribal members and PGE customers—to help us get there.

—Jim Manion, Warm Springs Power & Water Enterprises of the Confederated Tribes of Warm Springs

Megan Hill, Fisheries and Water Quality, Portland General Electric

HOMELESSNESS

A Constant Gripe

Too loud, too cold
Too lonely and old

Not enough, constant fear
How did I get myself here?

Fault, fault, fault
Focus there
Blame, blame, blame
Reflection rare

What feelings to feel
when homelessness looms?
Lightning strikes and thunders booms

Head for cover
Where to go?

Most life skills,
I do not know.
Finances, long term planning,
what are those?

Reptile brain, continues to grow.
Constant stress
Just trust strange people
you just met.

Do what they say.
Follow the rules.
Don't mind the Circus
Surrounded by fools

Parolees, insane,
substance abuse galore,
geriatric, D.V.,
homeless with children
deedel lee deee

Let's not forget
Veterans with PTSD.

Back to the rules:
Fill in this.
Check that out.
Finding housing for you
will be difficult with out
a doubt!

Show up every time.
Get a job or two.

Ps you have access to all of the services I have told you about during normal business hours.

Good Luck

—Cherie Swenson

SCHOOL ISSUES

The four newly installed Bend-La Pine School Board members have a huge challenge ahead of them. Low high school graduation rates (one of the lowest in the nation), school safety (a high parent priority), truancy, a diverse student population and lack of minority teachers and administrators are among the many targets which must be addressed.

In listening to them at public forums up to election time (I was also a candidate), they (we) all were in the same arena on the importance of seeking solutions to these problems.

There are tried and true programs available at Madras and other school districts throughout the nation. They merit looking into.

I wish them God Speed in a demanding task. It can be done.

—Richard Asadoorian

Letter of the Week:

Cherie: Thanks for sharing your creativity. Come on in for your gift card to Palate!

—Nicole Vulcan

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