Locus Focus on 05/02/11
RECOVERING A LOST RIVER: An Interview with Author Steven Hawley
In the Pacific Northwest, the Snake River and its wilderness tributaries were once some of the world’s greatest salmon rivers. As recently as a half century ago, they retained some of their historic bounty, with millions of fish returning to spawn. Now, due to four federal dams, the salmon population has dropped close to extinction. Efforts at salmon recovery through fish ladders, hatcheries, and even trucking them over the dams have failed.
On this episode of Locus Focus, host Barbara Bernstein talks with Steven Hawley, journalist and self-proclaimed “river rat.” In his new book RECOVERING A LOST RIVER, he recounts the story of the Snake River, its salmon, and its people and raises the fundamental questions of who should exercise control over natural resources and which interests should receive highest priority. Hawley's book also offers surprising counterpoints to the notion of hydropower as a cheap, green, and reliable source of energy, and challenges the wisdom of heavily subsidized water and electricity.
Steven Hawley, an environmental journalist, was among the first to write about the historic agreement to tear out Edwards Dam on the Kennebec River in Maine. Since then, his work has appeared in High Country News, Bear Deluxe, National Fisherman, OnEarth, Arizona Quarterly, the Oregonian, and Missoula Independent. He lives with his family along the Columbia River.
More information on breaching the Snake River Dams: