Bull Trout Giganticus
It was a good week to be a bull trout. Clallam County Commissioners approved the removal of an historic dairy farm along the Dungeness River. Farm removal is a key element in the multi-million dollar plan to restore the bull trout in the Dungeness River by removing the flood control dike. Built in 1963, the dike has prevented the river from wandering freely across the historic flood plain. The best available science believes the dike “constricted” the river. With the dike removed it is hoped the bull trout will thrive and prosper. Previous efforts to restore the bull trout have included building log jams, buying property, (from willing sellers) then razing the structures and planting native vegetation. In addition the Dungeness River is closed to fishing for most of the year. Despite these efforts and the millions of dollars spent, the Dungeness bull trout is more threatened and/or endangered than ever.
Removing the dike to save the bull trout is an experiment that could eventually endanger some homes and farms.
Any non-compliant, obstructionist or reactionary elements whose bourgeois sensibilities foster an unhealthy attachment to their homes will become willing sellers once they are flooded out. Small farms can become willing sellers once their water is shut off. As my Uncle Joe used to say,
“Losing an acre of farmland is a tragedy. Losing a hundred acres is a statistic”.
The family farm is an anachronism that has no place in our modern age. A visit to a dairy farm is a good case in point. Typically, the dairy cows graze aimlessly across an open pasture. Factory farms with cows in cages produce more milk at less cost. Milk is not just something you dunk your cookies in anymore. With the miracle of genetic engineering and the can-do attitude of today’s corporate farmer, milk has become a commodity that can compete with sports drinks for the market share. Modern milk has enough vitamins and additives in it to help children grow up strong like former Soviet Union athletes. We don't need farms for vegetables anymore either. Modern farm produce can be produced cheaper in third world countries where labor rates and chemical restrictions are more in line with the global economy.
It is a small price to pay to save the bull trout.