I write regarding "Return of the Salmon?" in the March 3 Journal. The modest article compelled me to touch on additional problems facing the health of the Eel River watershed presented by Mr. Higgins' report.
More that a mere fish count, Mr. Higgins produced a point-in-time look at many aspects of the river, finding sites where habitat is good or recovering, and where there are unhealthy places that have management or restoration potentials.
This work was joined by staff from the Friends of The Eel River, Bear River Rancheria, Wiyot Tribe, Stillwater Sciences, Humboldt County Health Department, California Department of Fish and Game, sport fishermen, and a group of residents scattered around the 3,684-square-mile watershed. A coalition like this could plan a project that would show the water users down south the value we place in our river.
As the Journal article twice noted, the vulnerable fall Chinook run was faced this season by the perils of a few unfortunate campers. Yet, there are larger problems to face with the quality of habitat in the lower Eel and Van Duzen rivers. Water quality and passage problems in future drought years must be anticipated. It will take more than a few years of big salmon runs to see the revival of historic abundance.
Let this past one be the first of many.
Michael Guerriero, Bridgeville