Thursday, April 12, 2012

Salmon tales: undammed and damned

You might think that photo doesn't look like much, but it's a kind of miracle in the making.

It's the process of un-damming Washington state's Elwha River. Just the day after this photo (taken four weeks ago on March 15), the original course of the water was restored.

Ever since the Elwha dam system was constructed early in the 20th century, blocking the salmon's route up the river, the fish have been swimming up as far as the dam system, waiting for the chance to go to their ancestral home.

It's worth taking a few minutes to acquaint yourself with what's going on at the Elwha. Their website even includes a five-minute video as an easy way to learn about this restorative project.

It's a project that evolved from the passage in 1992 of the Elwha River Ecosystem and Fisheries Restoration Act , enlightened legislation protecting the salmon, ensuring them access to their spawning grounds.

On the other hand, this week's news reveals a sorry tale this side of the border, a change of policy taken by 'the Harper Government' (the term they apply to themselves -- one that makes sense, as they don't behave like much of a Canadian Government, nor like one that represents the Canadian people).

This legislation weakens habitat protection -- yet another move backwards. And look out, later this month, further cuts are expected to the Department of Fisheries and Oceans.

As a line from a poem by bill bissett warns:

if th salmon go, we wunt b sew long aftr...

No comments: