Daily Archives: November 6, 2009

Orcas not in the NW Power Plan

Council members at Seattle public hearing (Fall 2009)

Council members at Seattle public hearing (Fall 2009)

Today’s the last day for killer whale advocates to ensure that the southern residents get some consideration in the power plan that guides the Pacific Northwest on a 20-year horizon and won’t be reviewed for 5 years.  Currently, the complete plan PDF itself does not even include the words “orca” or  “killer whale.”  Clearly the established connections between west coast salmon abundance and SRKW survival are not on the Council’s radar!

The public hearings (photo link) are over, but you can still contact Council members and other decision-makers to ensure a strong final 6th Northwest Power and Conservation Plan.  The Northwest Power and Conservation Council will continue to accept written comments on the draft Sixth Plan until midnight tonight, November 6, 2009.  Start your weekend off right by submitting your comments online at http://www.nwcouncil.org/energy/powerplan/6/comment.asp

A search of the Council’s web site — nwcouncil.org — for “orca” and “killer whale” turns up a grand total of 17 hits.  Only ~10 of them are relevant and none clearly articulate the science linking killer whales and Chinook salmon populations from big river systems like the Columbia and the Fraser.

Feel free to model your comments after the inspirational ones (revealed by searching for SRKW terms atsite:nwcouncil.org).  Both are appended:

“Bonneville should meet its fish and wildlife obligations.” (BPA-6)

What the hell sort of guidance is that?  How about endorsing a cogent analysis of the costs and benefits associated with the lower Snake River dams?

“The Council will work with fish and wildlife managers and regional power planners to; 1) develop a curtailment plan for fish and wildlife operations in the event of a power emergency, 2) prepare a contingency power operation in the event of a fish and wildlife emergency, and 3) develop a plan for continued improvement in our ability to forecast and operate the system to reduce the likelihood of emergencies.” (F&W-2)

The listing of our regional icons — salmon and orcas — as endangered is an emergency!  We don’t need a contingency plan, we need to take action to recover these populations.  And “recover” does NOT mean one-more-fish-than-last-year; it means get them back to their ecological baselines: 100-200 SRKWs and Columbia/Snake salmon populations of XX million — adequate for feeding killer whales and human fishers alike.

http://www.nwcouncil.org/energy/powerplan/6/view_comment.asp?id=660 — We need to put saving the salmon/steehead from extinction as a top priority. I would pay more for power if we removed dams to support this desire; even during these tough economic times. This fish is an icon of the Pacific Northwest, but it is so much more, and it is irresponsible to continue to use huge dams and let the fish suffer the consequences. Look at the Columbia river Chinook: almost gone and orca’s are down in numbers and the spring chinook was their biggest food source. Tribal, Commercial, and Recreational groups all seem to agree that we have to make tough choices, sacrifices, for the sucess of the species. We need to make up for the dumb things we’ve done in the name of cheap power. I grew up in the late 60′s/70′s, fishing with my Dad for fun and for putting food on the table, and i also fished commercially in the 80′s, for profit. Nowadays i’m a volunteer WSU Snohomish County BeachWatcher, and i’ve volunteered almost 500 hours since we began here in my area in 2006. Projects i work on help preserve and protect the fragile ecosystem that is Puget Sound, or the Salish Sea, and i hope i can give back to what i’ve taken from. Shall we all do that? Thank you for your time.  Sincerely, Joan Douglas