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News, notes, trip reports, and the lighter side (of the wilder side) of the Oregon environmental and conservation movement.
Awesome video culminating an amazing journey for the iconic northwest fish.
Got an e-mail from Save Our Wild Salmon today with a pretty amazing video.
Most of us have heard about the unbelievable journey that many salmon take to return to their spawning grounds. These native salmon travel from the ocean to the same river where they hatched. On the way, they have quite a bit to overcome.
Some of the obstacles blocking the return of salmon are man made. Massive dams on the Columbia and Snake Rivers and dozens of dams on tributary streams change the migration routes for salmon in astonishing ways. These fish also have to swim through polluted streams and past gill-nets.
Other obstacles are natural. Check out the video after the jump.
A couple of interesting anecdotes from the dammed rivers in Oregon.
Back in 1994, Oregon Wild (then ONRC) released our 15 Damnable Dams report. The cover was emblazoned with this quote:
"Historically, questions about dams have been limited to where or whether to build them in the first place. Given what we now know, it is time to change the terms of the debate. It is time to ask whether or not existing dams should be allowed to remain."
Since publication of the Damnable Dams report, we've seen progress and stagnation in the fight to remove large dams in Oregon. In a three-year dam busting binge that would make Ed Abbey proud, Savage Rapids Dam and Gold Hill Dam on the main stem Rogue River and Elk Creek Dam on a major tributary have all been demolished. And this year, Gold Ray Dam is expected to get yanked. Once that happens, Lost Creek Dam will be the only major dam on the Rogue River allowing it to flow freely below Lost Creek for 157 miles to the ocean.
Farmed salmon that get the green light by Seafood Watch raise questions, concerns.
I always wondered why people ate Cheese Whiz. I mean WHY would you eat fake cheese when you could just eat the real thing? Similarly, the sushi lovers of the blog world may revolt when I say this, but I feel the same way about imitation crab. EVERYtime I eat sushi people say, “Well, even though you’re a vegetarian, you can eat the imitation crab, since it’s not REAL crab.” I don’t want to eat artificial crab. If I don’t eat the real thing, the last thing I want is imitation. Don’t get me wrong, as a vegetarian I’ve eaten a slice or two of Tofurky, and enjoyed the protein substitute of it all. I’ve probably even sprayed that gross fake whipped cream from a can directly into my mouth once or twice. Yes: Gross.
In the end, I always come back to: Eat the real thing. Eat fresh. Eat local. Eat wild.
Clifford Tracy, Oregon's Yellowstone, and an 1872 law.
In early September we heard word for our allies at the Siskiyou Project down in SW Oregon that something strange had happened in the Siskiyou Wild Rivers area.
We've been working with partner organizations now for months drawing maps and determining what lands in this botanical oasis should be included in the next Wilderness bill (turns out there are a lot - over 500,000 acres in all). One of the big threats in the area is mining. Stripping for nickel, dredging for gold, and using public lands to do it.
Part of the problem is the weak federal laws that govern mining on the lands that we all collectively own in our National Forests and on BLM land. Considering that the tools of the mining trade have changed quite a bit over the years (think fewer pick axes and more bulldozers) you'd think we'd have modern laws to regulate all of our modern technology.
Well, think again. And when an 1872 law governs mining rules, you can expect miners to behave like it's 1872.
And that's just what happened earlier this month. (see more past the jump)
Old growth habitats and the fear of fire, bird watchings, a butterfly tale, wild rapids, and the political dams.
Old growth habitats provide protection
Recent studies report that spotted owl habitat is not more prone to forest fire, which the Bush administration tried to contend as reasoning for ramping up old growth logging. By looking at satellite images, scientists have decided that an increase in forest thinning may not be the answer, and the argument that the spotted owl's habitat can be ignored because logging must happen to prevent forest fires has been disproved.
Money in motion, rare wildlife, the legislation-conservation dance, and Oregon wildflowers
Money makes the world (and conservation) go round
Federal stimulus money is going to fund the removal of the Gold Ray dam on the Rogue River. Similar to the Elk Creek dam, recently removed thanks to a decades long struggle by Oregon Wild and others, the Gold Ray dam project has recently done little more than cost the state money and hinder salmon and steelhead spawning streams. The dam may finally be removed to the great relief of Oregon Wild and many salmon and steelhead.
In the same vein, Sisters Rocks (not that Sisters...this one is a little further south) has recently become a state park thanks to the portion of lottery funds dedicated to salmon and parks. Just south of Port Orford on Highway 101, this unpopulated, hidden sea cave makes for a fun and beautiful outing in a new small coastal park.
Ready to take up our spot in Jack London Square for Round 2.
Going with some lighter clothes as we prepare for the day. Seems like sun will be shining just as strong as yesterday. Looking forward to more conversations with interested folks.
As things were winding down last night I had the chance to talk to an interested couple of folks who had just traveled through Oregon and wanted to know what the story was with all the clear cuts. Unfortunately, Oregon is not only known for good camping spots (which I have heard alot) but also for rampant scarred hillsides.
The clear-cuts did lead us to an interesting discussion about harnessing the power and interest of rural communities to get work done in the forest that would improve conditions and restore the forest. We were essentially talking about the Siuslaw model and these two Californians had stumbled across it just by thinking about it for a little while. No wonder we call it the Common Sense vision.
On our way to Jack London soon.
A day spent celebrating and raising awareness for salmon.
The second year of SalmonAid is also Oregon Wild's second year of participation. The SalmonAid festival is the largest gathering of West Coast salmon advocates in the country and brings together conservationists, tribes, commercial fishermen and more. Yours truly, will be manning the Oregon Wild table at the festival while Klamath Campaign Coordinator Ani Kame'enui helps staff the event to keep things running smoothly. Throughout the day today (and tomorrow) I'll try and keep y'all up to date on the SalmonAid happenings.
When a California conservation group speaks out against linking dam removal to anti-wildlife and anti-salmon initiatives, a Bush-backed settlement process gives them the boot.
Back in 2007, Oregon Wild and our sister group WaterWatch of Oregon were evicted from Bush administration-backed “settlement talks” in the Klamath Basin over our opposition to continuing commercial agricultural development on National Wildlife Refuges and reduced water flows for threatened coho salmon. Now a California group, the Northcoast Environmental Center, is getting similar treatment—this time for advocating that dam removal should not be tied to anti-environmental initiatives on water and wildlife. This comes after the Hoopa Valley Tribe took a similar stand, saying the Bush-initiated settlement could mean extinction for Klamath salmon.
SalmonAID 2009 comes back to Oakland, Ca.
Late last May Oregon Wild participated in the first annual SalmonAID festival. Sponsored by a coalition of organizations throughout the west, SalmonAID works to restore rivers, recover salmon, and build jobs with wild salmon in mind. Salmon have long been a critical link in Oregon Wild’s work to protect our state’s wildlands, wildlife, and waters; the SalmonAID coalition brings together conservation groups, fisherpeople, tribes, biologists, and more to advocate for the dire needs of Pacific salmon. Loss of salmon in the West means a loss of culture, cuisine, economy, and ecology; the ripple effects of this fish in peril are significant.