Salmon 2100: The Future of Wild Pacific Salmon

Without a Change of Direction, We’ll Get Where We’re Going: Writing a Future for Wild Salmon

Sally L. Duncan, Denise H. Lach, and Robert T. Lackey


As the early drafts of Salmon 2100 chapters filtered in, some authors lagged behind, others confessed to being stressed by the task, and several ultimately turned down the chance to participate. Comments started to emerge about what a difficult challenge this was and about the strange bedfellows to be found between the covers of the proposed book. From across the country came warnings about the scurrilous and even perilous political nature of the project. Diverse authors had been given open season to speak their minds, dream their solutions, and write the future for wild salmon, specifically with no direction from their employers. Why the struggle? Why the fuss? Was it because of those two perverse constraints on their assignment: the 100-year time frame, and the relentless nature of human population pressure in California and the Pacific Northwest? Or were other peculiar forces at work behind the scenes?

After several spirited discussions among the organizers about what the Salmon 2100 project had unleashed, it was proposed that an epilogue be written to address some of the sociological aspects of writing for Salmon 2100: The Future of Wild Pacific Salmon. There was little doubt about the emergent wickedness of the salmon problem (see Lach et al., this volume), but now it seemed the wickedness expanded beyond the salmon problem itself, deep into the relationships between science and society, between personal policy preferences and professional responsibility and between the way we think and our ability to transform human systems.