Lost River Print Promotes Salmon Recovery
Submitted by Ted Williams on Mon, 12/18/2006 - 22:28.
Spokane, WA –Lost River, a limited edition print with a poignant essay by renowned author and conservationist David James Duncan, is being released today by Save Our Wild Salmon (SOS). The image was created by photographer Frederic Ohringer and the project was underwritten by Patagonia. The image of boats filled with fishermen in an eastern Washington wheat field unites two of the Northwest’s most prized livelihoods – fishing and farming. The beauty and value of eastern Washington’s agricultural landscape is joined with an image of fishermen casting into a wheat field “river” symbolically void of water or salmon. The accompanying short essay by Mr. Duncan, whose novels include The River Why and The Brothers K, grieves for the losses salmon communities have suffered but offers a vision of hope that fishermen and farmers will one day meet on a freed river to share the bounty of both land and water. David James Duncan expands on his essay and his passion to restore salmon, in a full statement at the end of this release. As he says there, “If we circle our boats and tractors in cooperation, Lower Snake dam removal will be an economic and spiritual boon to the entire inland Northwest. The miracle feast at the Sermon on the Mount was loaves and fishes. Not one or the other. Both.” Lost River also represents a new commitment by Save Our Wild Salmon to reach out to farmers, shippers and local communities that fear economic harm from dam removal. SOS members have been meeting with farmers and shippers in the past year to listen to their concerns and begin a conversation about the needs of farmers and needs of salmon and salmon fishermen. In contrast to the failed federal approach, respectful dialogue can help the region find a solution that restores wild salmon, protects local salmon economies and promotes thriving agricultural communities in the Inland Northwest. “We must do a better job of listening to the concerns of wheat growers and others,” said Sam Mace, Inland Northwest Project Director for SOS in Spokane. “At the same time, we hope that agricultural interests will consider the hardships facing commercial, sport and tribal fishing families and businesses affected by the loss of Snake River salmon and steelhead.” SOS believes affordable alternatives can replace 140 miles of barge transportation provided by the four lower Snake River dams while providing equal or greater economic benefits to local communities. “Farmers have told us they can’t afford to pay additional shipping costs. And the best way to craft affordable transportation options is to listen to shippers who use the current system and learn more about what their transportation needs will be five to 20 years down the road,” said Mace. Save Our Wild Salmon (SOS), a coalition of commercial and sportfishing organizations associations, businesses, conservation organizations, clean energy advocates and taxpayer groups, supports removing the four lower Snake River dams to restore wild salmon while finding affordable alternatives for replacing the benefits of the dams. To view “Lost River” or to obtain a copy of the print visit www.wildsalmon.org. # The full statement by David James Duncan upon the release of the Lost River print whose creation he inspired and led: “The extinction of wild salmon from 5,500 miles of pristine Idaho and Oregon streams is fait accompli for many species, and impending for most others, largely due to four dams that preserve a 140 mile barging route on the lower Snake River. Wheat farmers say the barges preserve their way of life. Fishers counter that their way of life has already been ravaged by the dams, and that what is now permanently at stake is the holy food of Indian tribes for millennia and the trade of fisher folk reaching back to Jesus, Peter, James and John. “The wind of change I’ve been feeling is an abandonment of polarized rhetoric and growing realization that Lower Snake dam removal, if done intelligently, needn’t pit farmers against fishers. On the contrary, by removing the four dams and replacing the barge route with improved rail and irrigation systems, the farmers (and many others) could benefit at the same time the fishers’ livelihood is saved. “The reconciliation of fishers and farmers on this issue, to cite a letter from my farmer friend Wendell Berry, is ’simply necessary.’ If we circle our boats and tractors in cooperation, Lower Snake dam removal could be an economic and spiritual boon to the entire Inland Northwest. The miracle feast at the Sermon on the Mount was loaves and fishes. Not one or the other. Both. Let's preserve that unforgettable legacy in our great watershed.” Bill M. Bakke P.O. Box 19570 Portland, Oregon 97280 503.977.0287 www.nativefishsociety.org