But if you think it is all high tech, meet Lucille Worsham who, for more than 15 years, sat all day inside Bonneville dam, staring at an underwater window as one of 65 professional fish counters.
"You know, I understand that they've tried to come up with some high tech way to do it. And they've never come up with anything better than you," Stahl remarks.
"That's true," Worsham replies. "And we're glad, we fish counters."
"Money. All of this has just cost a fortune, this effort to save the salmon," Stahl remarks.
"Billions have been wasted," Ed Chaney says. "Not spent to save the salmon. Billions have been wasted and that's the real tragedy here."
"You know, we've talked about the barging. They've got pipes. They've got diversionary routes. They've got ladders, all of this manmade, all of it costing money. But the point is to try and save the fish," Stahl says.
"No. The point is to try to avoid fixing the dams," Chaney charges.
"Save the Dam project," Stahl says.
"That's exactly right," Chaney replies. "These are 'save the dam' facilities."
Environmentalists like Chaney are up against a powerful 'save the dams' coalition. Virtually every politician in this neck of the woods is against removing the dams - both Democrats and Republicans. So are the farmers, who are afraid of losing the irrigation provided by the dams that turned what used to be a desert here into an agricultural bread basket. The timber industry is afraid of losing inexpensive barging for their products.
Without the dams there wouldn't be any navigation on the river at all. Aluminum companies and other heavy power users are afraid of losing their bargain priced electricity. They like shifting the focus away from the dams. What do they blame for the salmon's decline? Fishing, particularly by Native American tribes which, under the terms of a treaty, are allowed to catch endangered salmon. And, hard as it is to believe, your dollars pay for that too.
"They've recently paid, I think it's over $500,000, to purchase new gill nets for commercial harvest by the Indian tribes," Lovelin says.
"Harvest of the salmon?" Stahl asks. "The endangered salmon?
"Yeah, that's right," Lovelin says.
"Wait. The government is buying the nets?" Stahl asks.
"The government is buying the nets," Lovelin says. "You can quite literally go on the banks of the Columbia River and buy an endangered salmon for $2 a pound."