April 18, 2013 | Volume 43, Number 15

Salmon can co-exist with hydro plant

Rob Goldberg is concerned that a road, a bridge, a penstock, a dam, a powerhouse and a transmission line to Connelly Lake hydro site will affect the upper Chilkoot River salmon runs. Has all of the above had any effect on the Ten Mile Creek salmon runs? Zero! And those fish have to swim through a small culvert with cars and 18-wheelers passing just a few feet overhead 24-7! Zero effect. The loud whine of the turbine also has zero effect! The road and bridge system up the Chilkat and Chilkoot rivers also has zero effect on salmon. The same is true along the salmon-rich Copper River.

Rob’s answer is wind power. Solar expansion of air by day creates wind, but stops at night. Storms create wind but it can be weeks between storms. Ice storms can destroy a wind turbine and a wind turbine can kill an eagle in seconds. Unlike wind, water can be stored to generate electricity 24-7, year-round. Releasing much-needed water in extreme, sub-zero, dry winters such as this year could save tens of thousands of vulnerable salmon fry.

Dave Werner