Recent Herald articles and letters to the editor have focused on the plight of our southern resident orca whales. These magnificent creatures are on the path to extinction within a century if they can’t get significantly more chinook salmon to eat.
Degradation of chinook salmon spawning and rearing habitat is partly to blame, so it is especially disheartening to read about Snohomish Public Utility District’s continuing attempts to develop a new hydroelectric project on the Skykomish River at Sunset Falls which is among the best remaining Puget Sound chinook salmon habitat that we have left. Fully 20 percent of wild Puget Sound chinook salmon are produced in the approximately 90 miles of cold water spawning grounds at and above Sunset Falls, therefore it is simply unconscionable for the PUD to pursue industrial development of this federally protected fish habitat.
Average citizens can help the orcas and the chinook salmon by being mindful of what goes down their drains, conserving water, electricity and other resources and purchasing only from environmentally responsible sources. We don’t have a choice where to buy electricity because the PUD is a monopoly, but we can buy less by conserving, and we can let the PUD know that harming salmon streams is unacceptable, unjustifiable and reprehensible.
Please contact Snohomish PUD through its website or Facebook page, or attend a meeting of the PUD commission to learn more and to voice your concerns about this risky and misguided project.