Lies, Dam Lies and Salmon: An Interview with Steven Hawley

photo from Steven Hawley

"Removing these [Snake River] dams may be the only way to fully restore endangered salmon runs, as several federal laws and treaties mandate. It would open up unfettered access to the formerly rich salmon-bearing rivers draining more than three million acres of federal wilderness. However justified ecologically, the most difficult obstacle toward making the Snake dams disappear is political," writes author Steven Hawley in his new book Recovering a Lost River; Removing Dams, Rewilding Salmon Revitalizing Communities.

From the publisher:

Recovering a Lost River depicts the compelling arguments and actions being made on behalf of salmon by a growing army of river warriors. Their message, persistent but disarmingly simple, is that all salmon need is water in their rivers, and a clear way home.

Hawley’s book reveals the story of how we got salmon to the low point they're at now in a story so full of political intrigue I kept expecting to turn to a chapter describing a body buried under a dam. Although his coverage of dams and salmon is as thick as a pre-dam salmon run, after reading the book I still had questions, so I gave him a call.

In this podcast we discuss his book, hydroelectric dams, energy policy in the Pacific Northwest and the politics that will determine the fate of one of our national treasures and something I consider a wonderful treat - wild salmon. To listen to the podcast, click on the player to the right.

UPDATE: To find out what’s going on with dam busting in the Pacific Northwest check out this NYTimes article about the removal of two large dams.