$16 Billion Spent To Save Pacific Salmon Has Failed, 95% Of The Salmon Lewis And Clark Reported On Are Gone
A trust fund with a tiny fraction of 1% of the billions spent can immediately and sustainably restore salmon to historic health and abundance
When Clark and Lewis reported on their 1805 legendary traverse across the North America Continent they marveled at the inconceivable numbers of salmon they found in the Columbia River.
My distant grandfather William Clark wrote of ‘fish so numerous one could imagine walking across the river on the backs of the fish’.
We can and we must BRING BACK THE FISH, bear with me and read to the end of this post to learn how simple and quick this will be.
In the time of Lewis and Clark surely 20 million of the 5 species of Pacific salmon returned each year to spawn in the Columbia River system alone. Each spring their young, called smolts, numbering in the hundreds of millions swam out to sea. The baby salmon spend months to years in the river (depending on their species) getting ready for their life at sea are tiny, weighing not more than 1-2% of their adult weight.
The fish depending on their species spend the next 2-5 years feeding on their expansive ocean pastures, growing healthy and strong, and before too long go from weighing as little as a single ounce to as much as 100 lbs. before returning to their native streams where upon completing their spawning cycle all die.
2017 Columbia River Salmon Disaster Declaration As Fish To Number Less Than A Million
This year the number of salmon of all 5 species returning to the Columbia is expected to totalling fewer than 1 million. This in spite of that $16 billion of federally mandated spending to save the salmon in the Columbia system alone trying to hold them safe from the brink of extinction the effort is failing.
Fisheries experts one and all acknowledge that the crisis of today’s salmon take place on the ocean side of their life cycle. They report that the numbers of young salmon sent out to sea has long been stabilized at high numbers (hundreds of millions) through the building and operation of countless fish hatcheries and spawning habitat improvement projects. Each year scores of millions of baby salmon are lovingly collected and safely transported around dams to insure their safe journey to their vast ocean pasture. But with reports of ‘bad ocean conditions again this year’, salmon returns are depressed and fishing seasons are shortened or eliminated entirely.
Here’s where the politics of salmon dogma and the world of fake salmon news/science comes into play.
In spite of the scientific facts being that baby salmon numbers in the Columbia River system have been dramatically improved and even stabilized a federal judge has recently ordered dam managers to write a new long-term plan by 2021 for the fish and the dams, and to consider removing 4 Snake River dams in Washington state as part of that plan to aid migrating salmon. Just last week, however, a group of Oregon and Washington lawmakers introduced a bill that aims to ensure those dams remain in place. It seems the dams are being used as ‘the usual suspects’ and bear the brunt of the politicking claiming they are THE threat and danger to the salmon.
This busting damnation makes only very little sense and that only if one obediently reiterates the incantation of the prevailing fishy dogma that what happens to salmon out at sea on their vast ocean pastures is beyond our influence. Few dare speak of ‘the monster under the bed’ which comes roaring out every time any mention is made over the use of the billions being spent on the ever failing effort to save the salmon. The salmon conservation industrial complex/monster has become a force unto itself. No criticism is tolerated nor is any stone is left unturned/thrown to insure the continuance of the ‘business as usual’ billions in spending, new ideas are belittled or worse. Saving the fish is clearly secondary to the business of being seen to be ‘saving the fish.’
The principle ‘spins’ or ‘fake news’ that are used to keep the salmon forever endangered and hence a ‘cash cow-fish’ are: 1. the most important part of a salmon’s life is their freshwater life, and 2. that there is nothing that we can do about their starving at sea. Both of these endlessly repeated tenets of the prevailing dogma are FALSE!
Yes the brief fresh-water life cycle of salmon is vitally important and YES the billions we have spent has NOT failed in helping salmon recover in the freshwater part of their life cycle. Our efforts have built scores of wonderful fish hatcheries each of which is staffed by caring professional workers who are supremely expert at filling their hatcheries with salmon eggs, rearing the hatchlings, and sending them out to sea hale and hearty. Tens of thousands of school kids throughout Pacific salmon territory happy and hope-full participate in salmon projects in their local streams.
When major salmon conservation efforts were started in the early 1960’s the numbers of Columbia River salmon being sent to sea started to go up from starting numbers of about 100 million smolts to 300-400 million or more today. That a great measure of the success of the$16 billion spent. Hundreds of millions of goodwill salmon conservation giving sustains countless salmon oriented green giving programs, all tax deductible of course. Tragically the collapse of the adult fish returning from their ocean pastures from 20 million to 1 million does not reflect as being a good return on the investment.
A better prescription for salmon salvation, stop the starvation.
Since the overwhelming multitudes of baby salmon that we save and nuture in our rivers and streams are starving at sea let’s look to what we can do to restore their ocean pastures to historic health and abundance. There is no mystery to pasture science, on land we’ve been practicing and improving on our stewardship of livestock pastures for millennia. We learned long ago that if we give back to our pastures they return our care many fold.
Walt Whitman the famous English poet once wrote of pastures, in his work “Leaves of Grass.”
All beef is grass.
That simple truth has always carried with it the admonition to take care of the grass if you want to sustain the herds of livestock.
Ocean Pasture Ecology
Think of the oceans as being ‘pastures’, those ocean pastures have a grass known as plankton, phytoplankton to be more exact. The ocean pastures of the North Pacific have clearly been observed since the 1950’s to be collapsing in productivity. The decline of salmon is one of the corroborating data sets that is a direct measure of ocean pasture collapse. But there are countless direct measurements of collapsing plankton production since the early 1980’s very precisely measured and observed via the many Earth observing satellites in orbit.
All fish is plankton
Ocean Pasture Collapse — The Cause and The Cure
The reason ocean pastures are in collapse, not just in the North Pacific, everywhere is that our high and rising CO2 is turning them into clear blue deserts. This ocean desertification comes from two pathways of harm from our CO2.
Ocean Acidification: First and perhaps more conventional and simple to understand – our CO2 is making acid in the seas. H2O + CO2 combine to become H2CO3, that’s known as carbonic acid. This is NOT to say that the seas are becoming acid. They are simply changing in their chemical makeup in a very subtle yet important way.
The very very slight change in pH, acidity, is resulting in a dramatic feedback that is making certain vital nutrients in the ocean much more soluble in the water and thus much more difficult to be taken out of their dissolved state in seawater and thus be available to nuture the tiniest of life the plankton of the ocean pastures. This enhanced solubility crisis is seen in the decimation of larval forms of shellfish and similarly tiny shell forming marine life such as pteropods.
Dust In The Wind: By far the greatest threat to ocean pastures from our CO2 comes from the fact that CO2 makes grass grow on land. Actually it makes all plants on land grow better but since this is a planet covered far more in grass than in trees it’s the grass that is root of the problem. Everywhere on this Earth more grass is growing in what is widely reported as ‘global greening.’
As more grass grows and greens the Earth we call that grass “GOOD GROUND COVER.” It covers the ground which means less dust blows in the wind. Now one might think that is a good thing unless you knew that dust in the wind is the most valuable and vital nutrient on this BLUE planet.
MORE GRASS GROWING MEANS LESS DUST BLOWING
Dust for the oceans is what sustains the plankton pastures and their plankton blooms. And throughout the world’s oceans their pastures are in a cataclysmic state of decline. The good news is we can do something about this and that something is incredibly low-cost, immediately effective, and proven to work.
Taking dust to sustain our ocean pastures will restore them to health and abundance within weeks!
Once we have given back to the ocean pastures the dust which our industrious civilization has denied the oceans the salmon that we are successfully rearing at a cost of billions in our streams and rivers will find that instead of mostly starving at sea they are treated to a feast. They will grow and grow and before too long they will come back to our rivers by the hundreds of millions.
How do we know? That’s the easy one to answer, we have done it and proven IT JUST WORKS!
Below is a photo of the largest catch of salmon in Alaska’s history that was made right on schedule after my replenishment of vital dust to their ocean pasture and restoration of nearly 20,000 sq. miles of their nursery and growing pasture. Everywhere on this blog you will find out more.
In my work in the Gulf of Alaska with a small band of shipmates and the help of a tiny native people’s village we did the work.
In our distant patch of North Pacific we weathered vicious 80+ mph winds, hurricane force, with waves blasting over the top of our 130 ft fishing/research ship.
We persevered and over the course of weeks hefted/man-handled 4000 50 lb bags of life-giving mineral deck from the holds of the ship to give dust back to the ocean to replenish and restore all of ocean life, from the bottom up.
Today I Am Happy To Announce The Creation Of
The North Pacific Salmon Restoration Trust Fund
With some few tens of millions of dollars this trust fund will provide sufficient funds to sustainably replenish and restore the North Pacific Salmon Pastures every year for the foreseeable future. In doing so we will bring back the fish to historic levels of health and abundance.
Want to learn more? Want to help? Join Me.