Tag Archives: salmon

All About Dams

I won’t say too much about this to belabor the point, but this is a great video put out by the Hydropower Reform Coalition, a group aimed at pushing the hydropower industry to better manage dams in order to reduce their impact, often great, on river ecosystems.

Dams are complicated things. They’re emission-free and have great side effects, like turning the Central Washington desert into a major agricultural region, but they’re hell on rivers. Salmon are some of the most well-known losers. But dams can impact everything from water temperature and sediment flows to flooding lowland valleys, which are important for animals in search of food in the winter.

I consider myself reasonably informed on Northwest issues, but I had admittedly never heard of “small hydro” until coming across this video on the blog for the American Alps Legacy Project. Let’s just say the video, in all its tongue-in-cheek glory, did its job by framing the debate from the get-go and successfully shaping my opinion, while getting quite a few laughs out of me as well. I’m on board with their view that we should make the most of the dams we have rather than building new ones that will damage creeks in the North Cascades like this.

Bottom line: It’s an impressive piece of work from a fairly small advocacy group.

Small Hydro Power from Tom11 Films on Vimeo.

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Filed under Communications, Green, Northwest, Science, Uncategorized

SOTU: Salmon for the Win!

NPR ran a survey among listeners asking them to describe last night’s State of the Union speech in three words, and salmon emerged as the winner. They also put together this word cloud depicting it:

We asked our listeners to describe President Obama's State of the Union address in three words. This is a word cloud of the more than 12,000 words we received.

Score one for the Northwest! In all seriousness, though, it’s a good reminder of how a joke can make a point better than anything else. President Obama had pointed out the inconsistency of the Department of Commerce regulating salmon in saltwater and the Department of the Interior regulating salmon in fresh water. He ended by saying that “I hear it gets really complicated once they’re smoked.” Cue the laugh line.

Of course, it’s also an example that a joke or story can often obscure the intended message. I doubt the President’s advisers had salmon as one of the top three takeaways in the speech. It’s up for debate whether salmon as a one-liner gets the “simplify government” message across or just gets lost in its own cuteness.

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Filed under Communications, Politics