Keith Carlson’s Sept. 28 letter takes great exception to Marvin Dugger’s Aug. 29 commentary on the value of barging smolts down river as a tool for managing and improving anadromous fish returns.
Carlson disputes the use of barging down river. Furthermore he states that the Army Corps of Engineers rejects the use of barging for that purpose. Carlson cites the Corps of Engineers environmental impact statement of September 2020.
That document does not support Carlson’s assertion. Instead it says that maximum transportation of almost all smolts by barge was not considered the “preferred alternative.”
In another document, I found, “Row, Row, Row Your Smolt Gently Down the Stream,” by Joe DuPont et. al. It found that barged smolt survival is about 98 percent, whereas in-river smolt migration via spill gets survival rates of 40 to 60 percent. Clearly smolt survival favors barging.
DuPont explains adult returning fish seem to have a harder time finding the place where they were hatched if they were barged as smolts. So, it appears that the corps’ “preferred alternative” is a blend of barging and spill, with great effort to manage the smolts continuously to improve survival and return as adult fish.
Nowhere in the cited EIS or anywhere else could I substantiate Carlson’s claim that “the Corps acknowledged that removal of the four Lower Snake River Dams had the best results for survival of our fish. ... ”
Dugger’s comments are much more informative and in line with the Corps’ “preferred alternative.”