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        3-5, 13+

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        Oregon | Activity 7.5: Salmon and Dams

        Students watch a video on the effects of dams on salmon and the measures being taken to remedy the situation. They learn the extreme measures needed to continue using the dam and provide access to the rivers for the salmon. Students create a table showing how humans have both harmed and helped salmon in the Pacific Northwest.

        Lesson Summary

        Students watch a video on the effects of dams on salmon and the measures being taken to remedy the situation. They learn the extreme measures needed to continue using the dam and provide access to the rivers for the salmon. Students create a table showing how humans have both harmed and helped salmon in the Pacific Northwest.

        This lesson is part of "Oregon | Unit 7: Oregon’s Natural Resources and Economy." In this unit, students will examine Oregon’s natural resources and their significance to the state.

        Time Allotment

        30 minutes

        Learning Objectives

        Standards: 

        4.11: Identify conflicts involving use of land, natural resources, economy, and competition for scarce resources, different political views, boundary disputes, and cultural differences within Oregon and between different geographical areas.

        4.12: Explain how people in Oregon have modified their environment and how the environment has influenced people’s lives.

        4.13: Describe how technological developments, societal decisions, and personal practices influence Oregon’s sustainability (dams, wind turbines, etc.). 

        4.18: Identify key industries of Oregon.

        Supplies

        Directions

        1. Explain to the students that dams are one of the most controversial topics related to salmon. Dams interrupt salmon’s journey upriver to reproduce. Explain that they will be watching a video to learn more about the dangers posed to salmon and the measures we can take that will help.

        1. Distribute the Salmon and Dams handout and instruct students to take notes on the measures that help salmon and the measures that hurt salmon.

        1. Show students the video: Nature | Salmon: Running the Gauntlet – Extreme Measures [5:04]. (Note that this is the continuation of a video series. Point out to students that in the video’s first line, when the narrator says, “A number of juveniles will die at each dam,” he is referring to juvenile salmon.)

        1. Have students complete the worksheet and fill out the table by listing the ways humans have both helped and harmed salmon.

        Answer Key:

        • Ways humans have harmed salmon:

          • Building a dam that salmon get caught behind, where pikeminnows eat them

          • Building dams that prevent salmon from returning upstream and upriver to spawn and reproduce

          • Placing the dredging at the mouth of the river, which created an island where large populations of Caspian terns and cormorants (birds) have gathered to eat juvenile salmon

          • Bonneville Dam ladders create a waiting period for salmon, which puts them in a pool for sea lions

        • Ways humans have helped salmon:

          • Paying fisherman to catch pikeminnows

          • Dredging materials to make clear channels for salmon to travel through

          • Creating an alternative island to draw birds away from the river mouth

          • Creating fish ladders for the salmon to continue through Bonneville Dam

          • Shooting rubber bullets at sea lions to prevent them from eating salmon

          • Researching and tracking the salmon population

          • Restoration programs for salmon

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