Salmon Running The Gauntlet: Documentary Analysis

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Policies are often put in place without regards for the effect it will have on other areas, people, or wildlife. Several examples of these unintended consequences are shown in the documentary Salmon: Running the Gauntlet, which explains the effects that human activity, dams, and attempts to repopulate the salmon species have been implemented and failed. With proper evaluation at the onset of a major project, these severe consequences may be avoided.

The PBS documentary begins by explaining the normal life cycle of salmon, focusing primarily on the sockeye salmon population. This Pacific salmon once was found abundantly in the Columbia and Snake River, but as rivers were straightened and dams were built to meet the needs of population growth the fish population has diminished by the thousands.

This loss of salmon life in the river system greatly affected the nutrient levels in the rivers. As stated in the film, the sockeye provided …show more content…

The warm, slow-moving waters created by the dams are ideal living conditions for the pike minnow that were found to be eating the hatchlings. A bounty was created for catching the pike minnows, creating additional funds that must be spent in order to encourage the salmon to survive. Fish transportation was also implemented to move the salmon 130 miles upstream past the dams.

As dams became old and upkeep costs rose many were torn down. This allowed the river to flow freely again and the salmon population increased by 20%. It was discovered that the best way to increase the diminishing salmon population was to simply restore the rivers to their original state. In 2008, a judge ordered for the Columbia and Snake River dams to spill water, allowing the rivers to flow as they would naturally. This water flow allowed the salmon to swim along the currents, as they would have once done

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