CA Gov. Newsom’s Attempt To Protect Salmon Backfires

In an attempt to gain the moral high ground, California Gov. Gavin Newsom (D) agreed with a proposal to remove dams along the California-Oregon border, and now the same fish he was trying to protect are being killed in the process, according to The Post Millennial.

Four hydroelectric dams on the Klamath River were breached on the grounds that doing so would help salmon migrate.

The result: salmon spawning beds were destroyed and pollution — including decomposed algae, organic deposition, chemicals, and fine silt — is wreaking havoc with the river’s ecosystem, according to the California Globe.

In what could be called an environmental disaster, endangered steelhead trout and other species have been floating to the surface of the Klamath River. It is unlikely for any juvenile salmon to survive, according to The Post Millennial.

Activists had claimed the dams were the cause of a steep decline in the fish population, especially salmon that swim upstream to spawn.

The project was approved by the Federal Energy Regulatory Commission in 2022 and is considered to be the largest dam removal in the nation’s history.

Newsome went on camera to claim that the project would restore old salmon runs and “cultures and economies” along with “trust in communities.”

The removal of the dams was supposed to prevent massive die-offs of salmon by allowing the free flow of water downriver. The flow of free water would reportedly eliminate natural parasites in the river that prey on and kill juvenile salmon.

Proponents of the project contended that restoring hundreds of miles of habitat displaced by the dams would also help to restore declining salmon populations.

Critics of the project worried the dam removal will leave no food in the river to support returning adult salmon, reported the Independent. They argue that ocean conditions are largely responsible for the dwindling number of salmon and removing the dams will not solve the problem.

One critic, the head of the Siskiyou County Water Users Association Richard Marshall asked, “The whole question is will this add to the increased production of salmon?”

“It has everything to do with what’s going on in the ocean [and] we think this will turn out to be a futile effort,” Marshall continued.

“Nobody’s ever tried to take care of the problem by taking care of the existing situation without just removing the dams.”

The fate of the Klamath River salmon remains unclear. The vice chairman for the Yurok tribe, Frankie Myers, is hopeful.

“If there’s still salmon in the water,” Myers said, “they have a chance and we have a chance. They will come down. They have to come down. Our existence depends on it.”

When your existence depends on the decisions of progressive government officials like Gov. Newsome, hope may be the only thing you have left.