Do Dams Make A Difference? Similar Survival Rates For Pacific Salmon In Fraser And Columbia Rivers

Big surprise. Dams don’t matter?

Because they haven’t compared enough rivers, there are plenty of other hypothesis. I propose the Fraser River stocks do poorly because of all the disease breeding salmon farms the B.C. government has allowed between the mouth of the Fraser and the open ocean.

Do Dams Make A Difference? Similar Survival Rates For Pacific Salmon In Fraser And Columbia Rivers. ScienceDaily





  1. jdubya Avatar

    This paper is a year old, and created a lot of controversy when it first came out in part due to the ham handed editorial board at Plos. This is from a comment by the authors after publication:

    “This article has been the subject of substantial media coverage, some of which has misinterpreted our conclusions regarding the impact of dams on salmon survival in our study. Unfortunately, these erroneous conclusions were precipitated by the press release issued by PLoS Biology – in particular the misleading title. The original PLoS Biology press release on our paper was not seen by any of the authors until several days after its release. We (the authors) disagreed both with the title and some of the text in the release, and felt it misrepresented the conclusions and relevance of the paper. To PLoS Biology’s credit, when we contacted them they immediately issued a revised press release addressing our concerns. The new version does not state that dams have no effect on salmon survival, which was not what our paper stated—our paper showed that salmon survival in the Snake-Columbia R system was about the same in the Fraser River during the period of our study. We specifically noted in our paper that much work had been done to improve salmon survival at the dams over a 30-yr period. The statement that dams do not affect salmon survival is incorrect and misrepresented the conclusions in our paper.””

    So what the authors are saying in both their paper and comment is that the technique of measuring smolts is new and relatively cool, and may provide, in the long term, relevant data. But the conclusions that the editors and the press came to when the paper first came out in order to hype the study (and the journal) were misleading.

    So the standard line: more studies are required…is still in effect.

  2. Ralph Maughan Avatar

    jdubya wrote on October 25, 2009 at 6:19 PM

    “This paper is a year old, and created a lot of controversy . . .”

    Thanks for the review of the paper. I saw the October date and didn’t notice the “2008.” It is good to have this paper that caused a controversy commented on, for the record.


Dr. Ralph Maughan is professor emeritus of political science at Idaho State University. He was a Western Watersheds Project Board Member off and on for many years, and was also its President for several years. For a long time he produced Ralph Maughan’s Wolf Report. He was a founder of the Greater Yellowstone Coalition. He and Jackie Johnson Maughan wrote three editions of “Hiking Idaho.” He also wrote “Beyond the Tetons” and “Backpacking Wyoming’s Teton and Washakie Wilderness.” He created and is the administrator of The Wildlife News.

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