Those who think that the U.S. Congress spends too much money saving salmon or should spread it to other animals don’t understand salmon recovery in Washington state [“U.S. is overspending to save salmon,” Opinion, March 18].
Salmon have been decimated across 75 percent of the state. But today, we spend less than one-third of what is needed for recovery. Funding for endangered animals nationwide is woefully inadequate. More money should be devoted to recovering other animals, but not by gutting already successful, science-based salmon recovery programs. Instead of fighting over the scraps, we should be increasing funding for more multiple-benefit recovery strategies, like salmon recovery.
Salmon recovery isn’t only about salmon. It’s about saving our way of life. We are saving salmon because it means jobs. Fishing in Washington supports 16,000 jobs and $540 million in personal income. We are saving salmon so we can save other animals. When we restore the land and water salmon need, we make things better for orcas, bears, birds and many other animals, listed or not. We also are restoring the natural function of rivers, helping lessen flooding and shoreline erosion.
Rather than criticize, we should thank our congressional delegation and legislators for understanding that salmon recovery isn’t just about saving salmon; it’s about saving ourselves.
— David Troutt, chair of the Salmon Recovery Funding Board and the Puget Sound Salmon Recovery Council
— Kaleen Cottingham, director of the Washington State Recreation and Conservation Office