Climate Change chinook salmon

Published on May 22nd, 2008 | by Jennifer Lance

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Bush Lies, Salmon Die: President to Blame for West Coast Salmon Crisis

chinook salmon

My family is supported by commercial fishing (dungeness crab and king salmon), which is kind of ironic since I am a vegetarian. For the second time in recent years, there will be no salmon season in California. Last year’s season lasted only four days, and the year before that was a complete closure due to the Klamath River. The collapse of the Klamath salmon population was due to Bush’s water diversion policies, that were implemented to get a Republican elected in Oregon. This year’s Sacramento River collapse is also the result of Bush administration decisions, which were followed up by lies to cover up the true source of the problem.

As has happened repeatedly throughout the Bush administration, scientists have been forced to mislead the public about the true cause of the Sacramento fisheries crisis. Government scientists claim that low ocean food supply is the cause of the collapse, whereas independent scientists cite water diversion from the delta as the biggest culprit. Rep. George Miller (D) Martinez explained:

They changed the science, the conclusion of the scientists and what we see now is we’ve closed the entire Pacific fisheries to salmon and the salmon are much more endangered now than they were five, six, seven, 10 years ago.

Although warming may have caused a lack of upwelling in the California current responsible for phytoplankton and zooplankton growth, denying the negative effects of water diversion is irresponsible of the Bush administration. Politics should not dictate or manipulate scientists. We deserve to know the truth.

In related news, a recent effort to truck Chinook salmon failed miserably in California. 75,000 of 180,000 young fall-run salmon being hauled in tanker trucks from Coleman National Fish Hatchery in Anderson to San Pablo Bay died on Monday. The trucked smolts were part of an experiment to see how trucking might boost salmon stocks in the ocean in response to the salmon crisis. Last year only 22,000 salmon returned to the Coleman hatchery, compared to the record number of 450,000 in 2002.

I am tired of the Bush administration manipulating environmental scientists for political gain, whether it is about climate change or fisheries. Massive fish population collapses should not be covered up, and harebrained trucking experiments will not restore our rivers. We need honesty in the face of environmental crisis.

Image: RJL20 at Flickr under a Creative Commons license

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About the Author

Jennifer lives on 160 acres off-the-grid in a home built with her own two hands (and several more skilled pairs of hands) from forest fire salvaged timber. Her home is powered by a micro-hydro turbine, and she has been a vegetarian for 21 years. Jennifer graduated from Humboldt State University with a degree in art education and has been teaching art to children for over 16 years. She also spent five years teaching in a one-room schoolhouse before becoming the mother of two beautiful children. Jennifer has a Master's Degree in Early Childhood Education and is currently teaching preschool, as well as k-8 art. She enjoys writing, gardening, hiking, practicing yoga, and raising four akitas. Jennifer is the founder and editor of Eco Child's Play (http://ecochildsplay.com) "I’ve always been concerned about the earth and our impact upon it. Now that I have children, I feel compelled to raise them with green values. From organic gardening to alternative energy, my family tries to leave a small carbon footprint." Please visit my other blog: http://reallynatural.com



13 Responses to Bush Lies, Salmon Die: President to Blame for West Coast Salmon Crisis

  1. Paul Smith says:

    Wow, this is outrageous. Thanks for shedding light on this situation.

  2. Healyhatman says:

    Maybe if Bush wasn't such a stupid bastard. He doesn't have a lot going for him though. He's not just American, he's ALSO from Texas and he's ALSO a Christian and he's ALSO a republican.

    Calling him stupid feels like laughing at disabled people.

  3. Dave Thomas says:

    Take a pill will you Jennifer. The Klamath Dams were built between 1917 and 1962, so how the damage they cause is one person's fault is just an idiotic statment to make. No wonder you don't get anywhere with your protest with such empty senstationalism and factual inaccuracy. Just another fool who won't accomplish anything worthwhile because they are just plain inaccurate and stupid in how they portray themselves and their causes. Thank God you aren't in charge of anything more important that wiping yourself.

  4. Davey Jones says:

    Dave, I agree that Jennifer does kind of make a leap in her logic from the Klamath Dams to GWB to salmon extinction — and in so doing shoots her argument in the foot, but there are probably nicer ways to say that, aren't there? I mean, are you in charge of anything more important than wiping yourself? And besides, what could be more important than that?

    What I take issue with is the phrase "kinda ironic." It's ironic that you're a vegetarian, maybe, depending on the reasons; but it's not at all ironic that despite this your family is supported by commercial fishing — unless they made the decision after you became a vegetarian, which I doubt.

    Yeah, right, who cares what I think?

  5. I suppose I should clarify: Perhaps Bush himself did not tell scientists to lie, but someone in his administration did. When you are the leader, you do have to take the fall for what decisions occur under you, and his administration is responsible for covering up one cause of the salmon collapse (delta water diversion), so I do blame Bush. This especially true for the water diversion decisions on the Klamath, after the Clinton administration (Bruce Babbitt) restored water flow to the river. This may be a leap for you if you don't feel that leaders should be held responsible.

    As far as the term "ironic", I was a vegetarian long before my husband became a commercial fisherman. It was his decision, which I supported. I included this statement, because most of my friends are always shocked to learn I have never even tasted the salmon or crab he catches and they covet. That's where I find irony, but it is not that unusual. Our local butcher's wife is also a vegetarian. I suppose it would be more ironic if I was the one catching the fish.

    Dave, the Klamath Dams are not responsible for the current salmon crisis, as the closure is caused by the Sacramento River. The Klamath numbers are up this year, but I do still support dam removal on the Klamath.

    I am always amazed at how people feel the need to be rude and attack blog writers with their comments. I think disagreement is important, and I learn from hearing about our reader's opinions, that's why I agree with publishing comments that include personal attacks.

  6. The SacBee featured a story about the failures of the National Marine Fisheries Service.
    http://www.sacbee.com/111/story/942060.html

  7. "Congressional Democrats on Thursday angrily accused federal fishery officials of using scientific reports to cover up the depth of the risks to salmon populations from the diversion of river water to farming on the West Coast."
    http://www.mcclatchydc.com/260/story/37236.html

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