by Amy Rawn, 2016-17 Student Fellow
At their core, the Fish Accords grapple with challenges that have long perplexed the Columbia River Basin: the coexistence of endangered salmon and steelhead with the hydropower system. Can these fish, which face a myriad of challenges in a complex natural environment, thrive on a dammed river? Can the endangered runs of salmon and steelhead be revived through mitigation alone or do more far-reaching tactics like the modernization of dam operations or perhaps dam breaching need to occur? The Fish Accords brought to light some of the benefits of compromise and collaboration, but also stirred criticism from those who saw the Accords as preserving a legacy in which the impacts of hydropower are not sufficiently addressed or scrutinized. In this final section of the 2017 State of the Rockies Report, Amy Rawn tackles the seemingly mutually exclusive coexistence of salmon and hydroelectric dams.