Another federal judge has ruled the current plan for keeping the four Snake River dams operational is inadequate.
The conundrum is nothing new and is to be expected as it is entirely possible that the two “elephants in the room” are mutually exclusive. It may well be that it is not possible to continue current or modified dam operations and keep native anadromous fish stocks in the rivers of Idaho. A coin tossed can only be heads or tails, not both, thus mutually exclusive. We have been flipping the coin for over three decades now. The current “coin” always lands heads, continued dam operations — never tails for native fish survival.
To affect a different outcome will require a shift in problem analysis. The next planning attempt must come with the “must meet criteria” that the fish stay, and if the dams have to go to allow native fish to make it to the cooler higher elevation waters of Idaho — so be it. And if that is where the science goes then policymakers and stakeholders will need to be active in the development and implementation of effective mitigation actions for all the human benefits derived from these structures.
John Szymoniak, Boise