TALKING POINTS ON PATH
1. Although 30 years of research show that twice as many barged smolts return as smolts migrating in-river, PATH asserts that increasing barging (holding all else constant) will decrease the probability of recovering Columbia Basin salmon.
2. Although there is no evidence that dam passage and transportation causes salmon to die at higher rates months and years after they have left the Columbia River, the PATH results are predicated on substantial amounts of such theoretical "delayed mortality".
3. Although several years of recent flow and survival data have shown no signficant relationship between increased flows and increased salmon survival, the PATH results are predicated on a powerful flow-survival relationship.
4. Rather than choose between competing hypotheses based on data, PATH elected to poll four carefully-chosen outside scientists as to their subjective views. These scientists:
Reject the widely-accepted evidence that ocean conditions for Pacific Northwest salmon have deteriorated sharply in recent years.
Reject the evidence that smolt survival through the hydropower system has improved significantly since the 1970s and 1980s.
Endorse reliance on a FLUSH computer model of juvenile passage survival that does not fit the best available data and dramatically underpredicts salmon survival.
5. State and Tribal proponents of the FLUSH model have refused to make it available for review, even to other PATH participants, but attempts to "reverse engineer" its operations suggest that it is riddled with unrealistic assumptions and parameters.
6. Although radio-tag data suggests that adult salmon migrate upstream more quickly through dams and reservoirs than natural rivers, the PATH results are predicated on the unsupported hypothesis that adult survival will increase by more than 50% after dam removal
7. Even under the dam removal alternative, PATH predicts very small total increases in abundance of Snake River salmon, that do not begin to approach historical numbers; historical numbers probably can never be achieved in a warmer climate rife with salmon competitors and predators.
8. The immediate survival advantages of dam removal as predicted by PATH are small, threatened and endangered stocks persist under present hydropower operations as well as dam removal options, and significant advantages appear only after extrapolating small (and fictional) improvements from dam removal over a 48-year recovery process.