Why the northwest is debating dams on the snake river again. Sars from smolts at uppermost snake river dam to columbia river returns including jacks for wild snake river springsummer chinook, 1964. An additional benefit would be to help cool the water sitting behind the lower columbia dams through the summer. Idaho economic effects of breachingnot breaching the army. During the 1990s, snake river fish stocks were listed as threatened or endangered.
The study, the lower snake river juvenile salmon migration feasibility reportenvironmental impact statement feasibility report,23 included dam breaching as a means to recover wild salmon. He says breaching the dams would not only disrupt grain exports, but also require building new diversion points for drawing river water for irrigation. Four dams on the lower snake river in washington state generate hydropower and allow for regional agriculture and barge shipping to portland or. The other snake river chinook stock on the list is snake river springsummer chinook. The debate over removing the four dams on the lower snake river has simmered for decades in july, the economic consulting firm econorthwest econw issued a new independent analysis funded by the philanthropic arm of the late paul allens vulcan inc. I was deeply disappointed to learn that the port of vancouver has yet to take a position on breaching of the snake river dams.
Lower monumental dam on the snake river in washington is one of four dams considered for removal or breaching in a longrunning debate. The costs of breaching the four lower snake river dams bonneville. I think breaching the dams is actually fairly popular because sportsmen want the fish population to be healthy so. Draft lower snake river juvenile salmon migration feasibility. Facts and information this page contains a series of documents that provide additional detailed information on a range of topics concerning wild salmon and steelhead population status and restoration activities, southern resident orcas, columbia and snake river conditions and management regimes and options, dam removal, commercial transportation, energy replacement, and more. Jun 15, 2015 lower monumental dam, snake river, photo. The final environmental impact statement, released in 2002, evaluated four alternatives to help lower snake river fall chinook get past the dams. Save our wild salmon why remove the 4 lower snake river dams. The costs of breaching the four lower snake river dams. On the northwests snake river, the case for dam removal grows as renewable energy becomes cheaper than hydropower and the presence of dams worsens the plight of salmon, pressure is mounting in the pacific northwest to take down four key dams on the lower snake river that critics say have outlived their usefulness. The snake river was once one of the greatest salmon producers in the world, that for millennia. The model demonstrated that the four lower snake river dams were the most significant factor preventing recovery. The army corps of engineers on wednesday released a plan outlining the steps to evaluate the potential breaching of one or more dams on the lower snake river if necessary to. People across the political spectrum agree they want to see those endangered species survive and thrive.
Combined hatchery and wild snake river fall chinook salmon returning to lower granite dam, the uppermost of the four lower snake river dams. Draft federal plan recommends keeping lower snake river. Top 10 reasons the lower snake river dams will be breached. The case for breaching the four lower snake river dams to. On the northwests snake river, the case for dam removal grows. The cumulative effect of eight dams on the lower columbia and lower snake rivers is too much for salmon survival and if the. Dam breaching would create a 140mile stretch of river with nearnatural flow by. The snake river was once one of the greatest salmon producers in. In truth, already well known to others but not to me, these four snake river dams are obsolete for their intended purposes and are being maintained at huge taxpayer expense for the benefit of a very few users.
Army corps of engineers talking about breaching the four lower snake river dams. However, the dams impede the migration of local salmon populations oncorhynchus spp. Sep 16, 2019 the final article looks at how breaching the dams would affect jobs around the snake river basin and the potential for increased employment from the river restoration project and new visitors attracted to a freeflowing river. I am writing today to urge the port to take action and proactively defend our critical hydropower resources. Comments on the draft report on breaching lower snake. Policy and factual considerations for breaching the four lower snake river dams now the past four decades establish that esalisted lower snake river salmon cannot coexist with the four lower snake river dams. Why the northwest is debating dams on the snake river. The four snake river dams produce enough electricity for about 800,000 homes. How to breach the 4 lower snake river dams with a pile of.
The costs of breaching the four lower snake river dams bpa. The four lower snake river dams produce over 1,000 average megawatts of reliable, carbonfree energy. This approach involved removing the earthen portions of the dams to create a free flowing river. Irrigators ask trump for god squad as snake river dam. Idaho salmon advocates mull breaching dams to protect fish. Pacific northwest waterways association members that live and work along the snake river have commissioned an analysis of the economic and environmental impacts of breaching the lower snake river dams. May 21, 2016 interview with jim waddell, retired civil engineer with 35 years of public service w the u. The columbiasnake river hydropower system northwest hydropower is the regions largest source of carbonfree, renewable electricity nearly 60% of the energy produced in washington, oregon, idaho and montana is generated by hydropower dams on the columbia and snake rivers energy information administration. Studies suggest that upriver salmon will not benefit from the breaching of the snake river dams kareiva et al. In spite of vulcans reputation for funding unbiased scientific inquiry, the reaction to. The case against breaching the four lower snake river dams. The columbia river basin was once among the greatest salmonproducing river systems in the world but all remaining salmon on its largest tributary, the snake river, are facing extinction.
The snake river dams and navigation locks allow inland farmers access to international markets. For more than half a century, dams on the columbia and snake rivers have been taken for granted as a permanent part of the landscape. Breaching is far easier than originally planned, making it possible to move from a decision to breach, to breaching in. A new federal draft report addresses the idea of breaching dams. The four dams on the lower snake river provide hydropower and.
Mar 30, 2020 its time for the four dams on the lower snake river to go and for our salmon to come home to a freeflowing and healthy snake river. Details in source document five means for breaching 4 lower snake river dams, jim waddell, 9. This led to an expensive study about how to improve the snake river for salmon, examining different alternatives including breaching the dams. Breaching snake river dams could save salmon and orcas, but destroy livelihoods. Introduction the november 2015 report by christianson et al makes several misleading arguments in favor of removing the four lower snake river dams to bolster survival of four snake river wild salmon runs listed as. The costs of replacing the power from the lower snake river dams far outweigh any of the. The full text of herrera beutlers letter follows and a pdf version is available here. How to breach the 4 lower snake river dams with a pile of policy. The way forward is together, through finding solutions that work for communities across the region, and from strong leadership from our elected officials in washington, oregon, and idaho. Presentations10rien evaluating the responses dam passage.
The four lower snake river dams include some of the most advanced and successful fish passage systems in the world. Breaching can be financed through existing debt reduction and credits mechanisms as a fish mitigation action by bpa. Army corps of engineers operates the four runofriver dams and locks on the lower snake river in washington. Ice harbor, lower monumental, little goose and lower granite.
Walla walla district website library 2002 lsr study. Lower snake river freis is the current operating eis for the dams, that the eis contains dam breaching as an alternative, which is the only untried alternative studied in the 2002freis, and an email from beth coffey, army corps of engineers, to the benton county pud, stating. Army corps of engineers, bureau of reclamation, and bonneville power administration operate, maintain, and transmit hydroelectric power from 14 federal multiple purpose dams and related facilities located throughout the columbia river basin. The northwest would not be what it is today without hydroelectricity from the regions dams. Policy and factual considerations for breaching the four.
Four aging dams in washington state block passage along the lower snake river, a major migration corridor linking pristine cold water streams in central idaho to the mighty columbia river and. Water spills at lower granite dam, one of the four dams on the lower snake river salmon advocates have targeted for breaching. The four snake river dams can add 6 to 12 degrees fahrenheit to water temperatures. The lower snake river dams supply a small share of the energy needs. Interview with jim waddell, retired civil engineer with 35 years of public service w the u.
Jul 02, 2019 he says breaching the dams would not only disrupt grain exports, but also require building new diversion points for drawing river water for irrigation. Draft federal plan recommends keeping lower snake river dams. Breaching the snake river dams has not seemed a rational approach for years, and the new report adds no information that changes that assessment. The high water temperatures caused by drought, climate change and dams were catastrophic to migrating fish in 2015. In late december 2001, the corps announced that on the basis of its. The case for breaching the four lower snake river dams to recover wild snake river salmon, carl christianson et al.
Fight to save lower snake river dams from breaching not. Kate brown expressed her states support for breaching the four lower snake river dams as part of a longterm solution to salmon recovery in a letter sent feb. In fact, the economic value of these dams goes far beyond the 1,022 average megawatts of energy that they supply. This loss is due to the corps failure to meet its longstanding obligation to compensate for the loss of salmon and steelhead at the lower snake river dams. Representative jaime herrera beutler sent a letter to the port of vancouver commissioners today urging them to protect hydropower resources and resist calls to breach the snake river dams. But her letter also says there is much to be done to work through the issues and mitigate impacts, laying out actions the two. A federal judge asked the government to look at decommissioning and dismantling four dams on the lower snake river near the tricities in washington state. Below is a list of commonly asked questions about columbia and snake river salmon and the four lower snake river dams with answers from regional stakeholders. Since the reservoirs are ideal for salmon predators, they allow increased predation on salmon and steelhead by both native and nonnative predators.
Will removing large dams on the snake river help salmon. Removing the dams would mean cooler water temps coming down the snake river, as a moving river has less surface area to absorb heat. Together, the lsrd produce 1,000 average megawatts of electricity annually, which is roughly the amount of electricity seattle city light consumes annually. The dam breaching alternative would involve significant structural modifications at the four lower snake river dams allowing the reservoirs to be drained and resulting in a freeflowing river that would remain unimpounded. Breach the snake river dams national geographic society. Army corps of engineers operates the four runof river dams and locks on the lower snake river in washington. Comments on the draft report on breaching lower snake river. Breach the snake river dams by kenneth balcomb, guest essayist note. However, the waddell report produces no creditable finding that can be used to compare against. Extreme measures like dam breaching have been studied and rejected numerous times over the last twenty years. We believe their analysis and conclusions do not reflect the full economic value of the power from the lower snake river dams. The columbia river watershed, including the snake river basin, drains over 259,000 square miles of the pacific northwest. The us army corps of engineers operates the four runof river dams and locks on the lower snake river in washington.
Columbiasnake river salmon recovery campaign sierra club. Jim waddell breaching the lower four snake river dams. The case against breaching the four lower snake river dams to. In this guest essay, longtime killer whale researcher ken balcomb shows how obsolete but still salmonkilling dams are helping cause the decline of killer whales due to food shortage in the northwest. The army corps of engineers on wednesday released a plan outlining the steps to evaluate the potential breaching of one or more dams on. Snake river dams facts navigation the columbia snake river system is a 465mile river highway that provides farmers and other producers as far as the midwest access to international markets. An extensive modeling effort completed in 2000 analyzed of the causes of mortality for snake river salmon. Army corps of engineers released an environmental impact statement that evaluated dam breaching and three other alternatives to helping juvenile salmon get past the four lower snake river dams. Jaime herrera beutler calls on port of vancouver to. The us army corps of engineers operates the four runofriver dams and locks on the lower snake river in washington. Jay inslee to explore the potential economic consequences and ecological benefits of either keeping or breaching the four lower snake river dams is nearing. Lower snake river dams stakeholder engagement report.787 1250 784 842 731 832 615 281 736 114 200 174 278 858 698 134 1485 485 490 162 173 279 697 1317 465 525 321 1341 19 1437 298 492 819 122 997 45 63 1377