I’ve participated in all 22 Sawtooth Salmon Festivals. This year we truly have something to celebrate, other than the fish themselves. Congressman Mike Simpson is all-in on salmon recovery, and, although I’d heard this from very reliable sources, I wasn’t completely convinced until I heard him say what he said the way he said it. His proposal will work because, unlike every other plan or action implemented over the last 30 years, Simpson’s proposal is founded on the biological prerequisite to salmon recovery—restoration of the lower Snake River (via dam removal). Necessarily, his proposal provides funding and implementation strategies to maintain the services the dams now provide once the river runs free. This is the perfect opportunity to upgrade electricity production, commodity transportation, and irrigation systems. Notably, these account for the vast majority of the $33.5 billion price tag (we’re $17 billion down now while our fish face extinction).

It’s beyond disappointing and inexcusable that the Democrats from Oregon and Washington, Kate Brown and Earl Blumenauer aside, have not enthusiastically backed a proposal that will let us reap the cultural, social, economic and ecological benefits of healthy, sustainable, harvestable salmon runs. Citizens of the Pacific Northwest, apply pressure, demand action!

David Cannamela, Boise

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