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Commentaries and editorials

Breach the Dams Now

by Matt Chaney
Idaho Mountain Express, August 13, 2018

Graphic: Cost comparison of 12 biggest power producers in the Federal Columbia River Power System reveals high cost of Lower Snake River dams with their The U.S. government has spent billions of dollars over decades to try to prevent Snake River anadromous fish from becoming extinct and recovering sustainable populations of these fisheries. Despite the mitigation efforts, it has failed to improve the continued decimation of these wild fish.

The four lower Snake River dams are no longer needed for producing electricity. It currently costs more to maintain these four dams and their “Compensation Plan” hatcheries than the revenue they receive from power production. The only reason these dams have not been breached is because the subsidized wheat farmers want to ship by barge instead of by rail.

Earlier this year, the early warning indicator for Snake River steelhead was triggered. The response from NOAA was to revise the parameters that define the indicator. The entire purpose of the early-warning indicator is to raise the red flags and sound the alarms that the fish are losing and the current survival rates are at the point of no return.

The action agencies don’t seem to understand that there are no second chances from extinction. The loss of these Snake River salmonids will have a trickle-down effect on more than the southern resident orcas. For millennia, the millions of carcasses from spawning adults hundreds of miles inland have provided food for other animals and much-needed nutrients for hundreds of miles of habitat and the Northwest ecosystem.

Humans set up a system to prevent extinct and that system is being rewritten to kick the can down the road. Time has run out. Breach the four lower Snake River dams now, this year, 2018. Extinction is forever.

For decades of resources, facts and figures visit bluefish.org.

Related Pages:
We Must Band Together to Protect Our Most Important Regional Asset -- the Snake River Dams Tri-City Herald, 8/11/17


Matt Chaney Co-director, bluefish.org
Breach the Dams Now
Idaho Mountain Express, August 13, 2018

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