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  • Monday, January 12, 2009

    What Would Woody Say ?

    A BIT OF INFORMATION
    Yes Mable
    Montana Drains
    Both Ways

    $$$$$$$$$ vs. FISH
    .. The salmon of the Columbia River are getting fingerprinted, [LINK,] a judge refuses to hear a case brought by Oregon, [LINK,] massive flooding is impacting young salmon survival, [LINK,] Canadians agree to catch fewer Columbia River Salmon, [LINK,] and light rail is coming to Vancouver, [LINK.]
    .. The perspective of resource management is culture-bound and temporally constrained by history. Time and place dictate concerns. Are introduced carp a resource or a curse? Is it 1820, or1920, or 2020?
    .. Are the trout above Firehole Falls an invasive species? Boon or bane? 1890 or 1990 or 2030? Is the Madison River a better river because of Hebgen Dam? 1925 or 2005, or 2035?
    .. Just how do we address our resources? Do we love dams and tailwaters for the right reasons? Do we hate dams and tailwaters for the wrong reasons?
    .. In the spring of 1941, on the cusp of the Great Depression and Pearl Harbor, a 28 year old, unemployed Dust Bowl balladeer, Woodrow Wilson Guthrie took a one month, temporary job with the U.S. Department of the Interior's Bonneville Power Administration (BPA) on the Columbia River.
    .. The BPA needed a folksinger to promote the benefits of building dams to produce cheap electricity. Guthrie, and his wife and 3 kids needed the paycheck. He wrote 26 songs in 30 days - classics like Roll on Columbia and Pastures of Plenty.
    ..
    ..
    .. Below is the contemporary take on the river situation some 67 years later. What would Woody say today?
    . video.

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    .. Not to stretch the analogy too far, but - Montana, today is growing rapidly and stressing the infrastructure required for the contemporary "plush life." The similarity to the Columbia Basin 'boom' of the 50's and 60's is striking. And, yes, Mable, there are parts of Montana in the Columbia Basin.
    .. Our trout waters are diminishing under the onslaught of expansion, rural gentrification, visitation, diversion, and drought. We desperately need a clear spokesperson for the habitat that nurtures our fish. A spokesperson with a bell-clear voice willing to sing the song before it's too late.
    .. Are feather merchants the contemporary balladeers of today's rivers? Do we love fishing, or fish, or rivers, or resources? Time will tell.
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    P.S. Did you know that there is a dam on the Firehole River? Maybe we should make it bigger! Could it generate some electricity for the new Visitors Center? Perhaps a lake and a new tailwater fishery? Who's to say?