Thanks-- this was a good read. Items like this are appropriate to post.
It's just when people go off into the twilight zone to rant about unrelated
stuff when people get irked.
There are other far less controversial dams which have yet to be
breached. Two are on the Elwha River on the north Olympic Peninsula in
Washington state. They were built to provide power to a small pulp
operation in the early 1900s. They are not needed now, they block the
river's watershed from salmon spawning (neither have salmon passage
structures), and the salmon returning to the small portion of the river
downstream suffer from disease brought on by high water temperatures in
that section of the river. This watershed is primarily unlogged and not
urbanized, since it flows from the Olympic National Forest and National
Park. Removal of these dams has been endorsed by just about every citizen
group, environmental organization and fishing organization. Yet Congress
continues to refuse to allocate the money to remove even the dam farthest
downstream (the Elwha Dam, built in 1910) located just 5 miles from the
river's mouth. (The other, the Glines Canyon Dam built in 1925, is at
river mile 13.5) This issue is totally mired in politics and
personalities, not science and not salmon.
In 1997, Congress proposed $113 million for purchase and removal of the
dams in its Land and Water Conservation Fund, but failed in 1997 and 1998
to allocate the money. In February 1998, the White House proposed $86
million for removal of one of the two dams. Senator Slade Gorton from
Washington (then head of the Senate Appropriation Committee) had previously
proposed $18.5 million to purchase the two dams, but then during 1999
budget negotiations he tried to use the remainder of the Elwha River dam
removal funding as leverage to prevent future salmon restoration efforts on
the Columbia and Snake Rivers. When the Clinton Administration refused,
Gorton killed the additional Elwha funding.
This year, Washington residents elected a new Senator who ran against
Gorton. Slade Gorton is presently on President Bush's short list as
Secretary of the Interior.
-- Jay DeLong Olympia, WA
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