by Mark Thoma
I live in the state of Oregon, so this story caught my eye. I hope you don’t mind my using this platform to bring the issue of environmental externalities to wider attention. It’s an issue I hope people are concerned about far beyond our state or national borders:
Half of Oregon's wild fish face extinction, Seattle Post-Intelligencer (AP): The first status report on wild fish in a decade suggests that nearly half the native species in Oregon are at risk of extinction. Oregon Department of Fish and Wildlife biologists studied 69 distinct fish populations, including all varieties of the state's salmon and steelhead species, and most of the trout population. They also assessed selected sturgeon, lamprey, dace and chub species listed under the Endangered Species Act. Eleven of the 33 salmon and steelhead populations are at risk of irreversible decline, and seven are potentially at risk, ... Eight historic populations have gone extinct in the past century, most of them concentrated in upper reaches of the Snake and Klamath rivers cut off from migrating fish by the construction of power-generating dams. …Among trout species, such as redband and bull trout, 17 of 27 unique populations are at risk, five are potentially at risk and four are not at risk.
…Biologists concluded that almost half the state's unique wild fish stocks are at risk of slipping further toward extinction within five to 10 years. … Bill Bakke, head of the Native Fish Society, a conservation group, said wild fish are probably in even worse shape than the report suggests. "The bar they are using for conservation is really low," Bakke said. "Even with the low-bar criteria, there are a lot headed toward extinction."…