Letters to the Editor

Salmon need our help to survive

A fall-run Chinook salmon swims upstream near Hemphill Dam in Lincoln on Friday. The Nevada Irrigation District, which owns the dam, has plans to modify Hemphill Dam to allow salmon to spawn upstream.
A fall-run Chinook salmon swims upstream near Hemphill Dam in Lincoln on Friday. The Nevada Irrigation District, which owns the dam, has plans to modify Hemphill Dam to allow salmon to spawn upstream. rbenton@sacbee.com

Save the salmon

Re “Small dam is a big barrier to salmon” (Our Region, Nov. 23): The Hemphill Dam dilemma is a microcosm of the problems salmon must overcome statewide to avoid extinction.

Water companies use tired cliches to delay creating fish passage over dams, which block salmon from reaching spawning grounds, as is the case in Auburn Ravine. Alibis for inaction on fixing/removing their dams only serve to create the possibility for salmon extinction on the West Coast and bad public relations for the water contractors. There are 738 tributaries of the Sacramento and San Joaquin rivers, the two great rivers emptying into San Francisco Bay. Many of the agencies charged with protecting salmon in these streams are overworked and underfunded, so nonprofits must help them get salmon to spawning grounds.

Citizens must write letters urging the water contractors to act in good faith with our fish and our water. Citizens must not allow alibis to make salmon go extinct. Only people can save our salmon.

Jack L. Sanchez, Auburn

NID is a barrier to helping

The Nevada Irrigation District was awarded nearly $1 million from state bond funds and nonprofit donations to build the fish passage at Lincoln Gaging Station. Even so, it took years to start the project. Only when the money offered was about to expire did the NID finally build the fish ladder, which had been critically needed ever since it blocked access for salmon when building the gaging station in the early 1980s. Now that the NID has to spend its own money fixing the problem at the Hemphill Dam, even though it is just a tiny fraction of what was already spent, it is sitting on its hands. We need wild salmon, and wild salmon need our help. NID is the barrier to us giving salmon the help they need.

Scott Johnson, Auburn

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