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<b>Science and logic</b>

EDITOR: George A. Hollister ("Vacation from logic," Sept. 15) presented significant insight regarding "logic" and coho salmon decline. Cumulative impacts, primarily human-caused since the 1850s, have pushed coho salmon to extirpation in the Russian River and beyond. Regrettably, 30 years ago, agencies removed naturally recruited logs (wood) from streams with unintended consequences. The addition of wood is vital to the ecological health of streams; this is based on scientific research, common sense and logic. The following are created by log structures in streams:

Refuge during high winter flows.

Pools for juvenile fish during the heat and low flows of summer.

Feeding opportunities by trapping organic matter for the aquatic food web.

Channel shaping and stabilization.

Enhanced stream function.

Hydraulic complexity.

Collection and sorting of gravel and cobble for spawning.

The California Department of Fish and Wildlife, NOAA Fisheries and local organizations have escalated the installation of wood for fish habitat, a high priority for salmon and steelhead recovery.

As the Department of Fish and Wildlife fisheries supervisor for restoration of coastal streams throughout the Bay Area, I invite interested citizens to contact me via the department office in Yountville to continue this conversation based on science and logic. Our valuable fishery relies on it.

GAIL SEYMOUR

Santa Rosa

<b>Permanent pawns</b>

EDITOR: Let's try a little nonpartisan common sense here. Government shutdowns have happened more than a dozen times in the past, under both Democratic and Republican administrations. They will happen again and again.

Once active, does anyone really think that a government-run health care system will not be a negotiating pawn in the future?

Federally funded affordable health care will be the crux of all future budget agreements. We will not be whining about closed parks. We will be fighting for our lives, literally.

The desire and demand for power can work both ways regardless of administrative controlled parties. The American people will always be the ultimate hostages. Let's not hand them our health as the ransom. Step outside the politics and realize that we are all being played for fools.

MICHELLE MILLSAP

Rohnert Park

<b>Insurance savings</b>

EDITOR: In an anti-Obamacare screed ("A sham," Letters, Thursday), Henry Angeli missed an important point. He seems unaware that doctors and hospitals reserve their steepest fees for those without insurance.

I have a policy costing $465 a month, with a $5,000 deductible. Not good, but it's the best I can afford. I expect to do much better under the Affordable Care Act. Meanwhile, my insurance is saving me a lot of money. For example, without insurance, I would have paid $1,400 for an MRI of my knee. But my insurance company negotiated the price down to $270. All my doctor visits and X-rays were similarly discounted.

I agree that the main beneficiaries of the new health law will be insurance companies. I would much prefer a Medicare-for-all style, single-payer system. But Republican opposition would be even more ballistic, even though most developed countries deliver health care that way.

Eventually, people will realize how much we could save by taking insurance companies out of health care.

SUZANNE SHONBRUN

Sonoma

<b>Community benefactor</b>

EDITOR: The feature story on American AgCredit by Staff Writer Robert Digitale ("Ag lender blossoms," Sept. 29) was not only well-written, it provided some much-deserved recognition for one of the North Bay's most civic-minded businesses.

It seems as if nearly every community event I go to, American AgCredit is a major sponsor of some kind. And it's not just agricultural-related events — if funding or other help is needed for a worthy cause, American AgCredit steps up to the plate.

It is certainly not the only generous financial institution or business in the area, but American AgCredit is one of the most reliable and modest. We're all lucky it has decided to expand its offices in Sonoma County rather than move out-of-state — and not just for the jobs they provide.

Our area just wouldn't be the same without them.

KEITH WOODS

Santa Rosa