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Native fish advocates fool themselves

I read your column regarding hatchery fish versus native fish with great interest. Though the Native Fish Society has the existence of our native salmon as a laudable goal and the survival of the species the very reason for the society’s existence, I believe they are not thinking clearly.

First, I disagree with any scientific finding that there is a definite genetic difference between hatchery and wild salmon.

We have been raising and releasing hatchery salmon for around 60 years. It takes nature hundreds, if not thousands, of years for a species to evolve genetically, so how is it possible for two separate species of salmon to evolve in such a short time?

If this is the case we might as well stop the California Condor rehabilitation program as we have already wiped the species out in the wild.

According to those standards, the birds currently being released to re-populate their numbers are no longer the same species, but a separate and distinct species. And the same argument can be made for every other animal species bred in captivity and released back into nature.

Second, the devastation of wild salmon occurred many years ago, not only with the installation of a few dams, but also with the rise of commercial canning of salmon on the Columbia during the 1930s and later.

Huge canneries with their associated “fish wheels” caught millions of fish throughout the years, until the demise of those cannery’s because of over fishing of the salmon and the collapse of the industry.

Obviously, we humans made a mistake, as we have done with many other natural resources. But we are too many and too driven to use up nature for our gains to ever return to previous numbers.

It’s naive and counter productive to believe that by halting the hatchery program, and removing all the dams on the Columbia, the native stocks of salmon will return to historical numbers.

What will replace the existing dams ability to make electrical power? Wind turbines? Sure, kill off thousands of natural birds and alter the natural perspective of many by altering the skyline with their towers.

Solar power? Same visual pollution and the loss of hundreds and thousands of acres of land for the “solar farms.”

I firmly believe that organizations such as the Native Fish Society, that believe in such nonsense, are fooling themselves and society to push an agenda that will never reach the lofty goals that they have established for themselves.

Eric Blatter


Legislature is wasting its time

Recently our legislators have been spending time working on two bills (SB215 and SB501) which would limit the effects of a recent decision by the Oregon State School Board, to place a blanket ban on the use of Native American mascots in our schools.

Here is another example of political correctness as it crosses the line. Since the Oregon Board of Education has made it important to make rules without thinking clearly through them, we now are about to spend a fair amount of our precious legislative time working over this issue.

I think if a mascot was derogatory, most schools would have changed it by now.

The mascots that I am aware of are there because they remind us of high ideals or represent good moral characteristics. Otherwise, as a former employee of a National Forest Service Ranger Station, I suppose I should get offended by the use of the Estacada Rangers.

I find little issue with schools out here with names like the Estacada Rangers, the Chemawa Indian School Braves, the Douglas McKay Scots, or the Sheridan Japanese School Samurais, all current names.

The Oregon School Board should remove this excessive and unnecessary rule, which can cause so much ado about nothing, and instead, spend time on something critical, and on the governor’s focus list, such as graduation rates.

Then maybe our Legislature wouldn’t need to spend its limited time on school mascots, instead of finding money for our schools.

At the very most this should be a local discussion between offended parties, not by a state board creating blanket rules.

Carl Exner