Before building dams on the Columbia River, the U.S. guaranteed the tribes of the Pacific Northwest salmon forever. But the system it created to prevent the extinction of salmon has failed, and a way of life is ending.
Damming the powerful waters of the Columbia River was a boon for cheap, clean electricity. But the fish that swam those waters are dying out. And the agency in charge isn’t stopping that.
For a project about salmon hatcheries, ProPublica data reporter Irena Hwang wanted to exercise a different part of her brain. She learned that there are many ways of looking at a fish.
Data reporter Irena Hwang thought counting fish to evaluate the hatchery system in the Pacific Northwest sounded like a fun project. That was before she started asking biologists about what the publicly available data could really tell us.
The U.S. government promised Native tribes in the Pacific Northwest that they could keep fishing as they’d always done. But instead of preserving wild salmon, it propped up a failing system of hatcheries. Now, that system is falling apart.
Dozens of people have told us about the decline of wild fish in the Columbia River and the U.S. government’s failure to uphold treaty rights. Now, we’re interested in hearing from you.