But the salmon populations that return to the rivers here during their spawning runs are a fraction of what they used to be, and they appear to be sliding toward extinction.
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In recent years, a movement to reverse that depopulation has gained steam. It has focused on the dams along the Snake River, which stand as a major obstruction to the salmon. But the dams have also served as sources of hydroelectric power, which is something else that has more recently become woven into the culture of the Pacific Northwest. So removing those dams is no easy task.
For this episode of the Crosscut Talks podcast, retired environmental journalist Rocky Barker sits down with two people who would like to see those dams breached — Dr. Helen Neville and Washington Environmental Council CEO Alyssa Macy — to talk about what is at stake and where the movement stands now.