Spilling Me Softly
Salmon are suffering as the West feels the squeeze of California’s energy crisis and the second-worst drought since 1929. Operators of federal dams are being forced to choose between using water to generate hydropower or spilling it downstream to support salmon. The Bonneville Power Administration announced last week that salmon recovery programs on the Columbia River will be cut back to meet electricity demands and debt payments to the U.S. Treasury. The BPA did spill $2.1 million worth of water last weekend to help migrating salmon, but the spill was only one-tenth of its normal size for this time of year.