Mary Edwards' letter ("Urgent action required to save Pacific Northwest salmon," Tuesday, Sept. 7) urging immediate action to protect Oregon's failing salmon populations from the ravages of global warming is spot-on. She calls for federal infrastructure appropriations to support investments in the Columbia Basin benefiting salmon and other wildlife.
Another helpful solution is to encourage the repopulation of our public-land watersheds by beaver — and it wouldn't need any federal appropriations. It would cost nothing.
Halting commercial and recreational beaver hunting and trapping on federal public lands would free these industrious hydraulic engineers to increase their numbers and reoccupy former habitat throughout vital watersheds, thus cooling water, reducing sediment, alleviating rapid runoff, storing water and raising water levels, and providing shelter and refuges for immature salmon, steelhead and other aquatic species. The positive changes in riparian habitats would increase biodiversity and the food base for birds, fish and other wildlife and would be fire resistant.
And all these benefits would come at no cost to the taxpayer.
The number of beaver trappers and hunters in Oregon averages less than 200 each year, but according to ODFW figures (through 2016), they kill between 1,600 and 3,200 beaver per year (and this during the breeding/nurturing season), and that is enough to suppress population growth and slow down their spread. The ODFW has repeatedly resisted any significant restrictions on beaver trapping and hunting on federal public lands, most recently this year.
It's obvious the climate changes in the West are dire. It's time to wise up and take drastic action — or else.