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Effective Conservation ScienceData Not Dogma$
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Peter Kareiva, Michelle Marvier, and Brian Silliman

Print publication date: 2017

Print ISBN-13: 9780198808978

Published to Oxford Scholarship Online: December 2017

DOI: 10.1093/oso/9780198808978.001.0001

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Fealty to symbolism is no way to save salmon

Fealty to symbolism is no way to save salmon

Chapter:
(p.98) Chapter 15 Fealty to symbolism is no way to save salmon
Source:
Effective Conservation Science
Author(s):

Peter Kareiva

Valerie Carranza

Publisher:
Oxford University Press
DOI:10.1093/oso/9780198808978.003.0015

This chapter tells the story of how the management options regarding Snake River chinook salmon became conflated with advocacy efforts to remove four major hydroelectric dams. As a result, conservation scientists lost sight of the larger, more complicated landscape of threats to these salmon. Simulation models that were meant to explore a wide variety of management options were so complex as to be impenetrable, and model outputs were never compared to real population data. Based on these flawed models, advocates for dam removal overstated the peril to salmon with a certainty that was unjustified (e.g., forecasting certain extinction by 2017 that never happened). This chapter argues that turning a complicated decision about hydropower, engineering solutions, hatcheries, harvest, habitat degradation, and salmon into a symbolic choice of “dams or fish” has hindered the discovery of portfolios of intervention and management that might actually solve the problem.

Keywords:   Salmon, Dams, Snake River, chinook salmon, certain extinction, simulation models

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