Northwest NEWS

March 8, 1999


How much should be sacrificed to save endangered species?

   While the Lake Tapps' fish connection is obvious (draining the lake reservoir would restore the natural stream flow to the White River), less obvious is the fish connection with the death of the kayaker sucked under a logjam in the Raging River.

   Sprinkled liberally throughout various jurisdictions' draft fish protection rules is a requirement to retain all fallen trees in streams and to install logs and rootwads in streams to provide properly-spaced LWD (Large Woody Debris). King County even requires LWD be installed in farm drainage ditches that contain fish.

   The idea is to provide pools and shelter for fish, even though the LWD is a hazard not only to kayakers, but also to kids on innertubes. LWD also contributes to flood erosion as water sweeps around the blockage and erodes nearby stream banks.

   Will citizens ever realize that extremist protections for our "sacred" fish icon will not only erase cherished lifestyles and turn safe streams into hazardous streams, but will also remove the profit from farming and forestry, which are the industries upon which fish protection is centered?

   And when realization dawns, will the citizens be willing to accept the losses of lifestyles and industries? Will they be willing to pay higher prices for farm and forest products and for power? Will they be willing to see livestock confined to barns because their pastures have been restored to native brush and trees to benefit fish?

   People should decide exactly how much they are willing to sacrifice for fish enhancement and then let their elected officials know what these limits are, if any. While deciding limits, please consider that the fish goal is not to prevent extinction, but to provide sufficient fish returns for profitable fish kills by the fishing industry.

Maxine Keesling, Woodinville