Years ago, renowned salmon artist Roger Long pondered the question: "Who is god of the Columbia River?" and upon deep reflection the answer arose: The U.S. Army Corps of Engineers.
I still believe that answer true. Folks are often distracted by the money that Bonneville Power Administration hands out, or are confused by 176 jurisdictions a redfish lake sockeye must swim through to spawn, but don't be.
The Army runs the dams and controls the barges and the level and flow of the river. They have taken out the log decks that smolt used to hide among. They dredge downstream from a Superfund site and generate the habitat for arctic terns. And most importantly, their hand is on the lever of "spill" that determines if a dam produces electricity or lets a run of salmon smolt make it to the sea.
Last I checked, the president was the commander in chief of the Army, and that includes the Corps of Engineers ("Obama should name a King Fish," The Daily Astorian, Mar. 16).
Founder of Wild Salmon Nation