People, Salmon, and Growth in Western North America: Can We Accommodate All Three?
John H. Michael, Jr.
The foundation for this chapter is the assumption that naturally spawning anadromous salmonids and humans cannot exist in the same watershed if both populations are at high densities. The history of mankind suggests that intense human presence precludes a fully functioning ecosystem driven by large spawning populations of anadromous salmonids (Montgomery 2003). In order to maintain or restore wild salmon to sustainable levels in at least some watersheds within the Pacific region, from Southern California to central British Columbia, it will be necessary for society to make explicit decisions regarding land use and natural resource management. The present land and resource management trajectories will guarantee the demise of strong populations of wild salmonids by 2100.
The structure for this chapter consists of an overview of the geographic area covered, a region-by-region proposal for management of the land and its resources, and a discussion of some of the underlying actions that will be needed to support the land use and resource management decisions.
The proposals are the result of applying a triage approach to the region, based essentially on answering the question, in what areas do we have habitat sufficiently intact to support anadromous salmonids at levels approaching those prior to Euro-American contact? Generally, these will be areas that currently support reasonably strong wild populations. In some cases, habitat restoration, particularly removal of dams, and other barriers to migration will restore populations to watersheds currently supporting few or no naturally spawning anadromous salmonids.