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Breach the Dams Now

by Eva Kronen
Register Guard, August 13, 2018

Southern Resident J27 aka. 'Blackberry', is easy to recognize by his tall dorsal fin. Time is running out for the iconic southern resident killer whale -- or orca -- population in the northeast Pacific Ocean.

The main reason is lack of salmon, which provide 80 percent of orcas' nutrition. Pollution and boat traffic are culprits as well. But like humans that are well-nourished, a healthy orca can better handle stressors. Breaching four dams on the lower Snake River would revive the salmon runs. These highly subsidized dams impede 140 miles of free-flowing river between Idaho and Washington, killing millions of fish.

The dam removal decision is caught in a quagmire over which governmental agency can give the green light.

Washington Gov. Jay Inslee has a task force, but that process will take years, which these endangered orcas don't have. A 2002 environmental impact statement concluded that "dam breaching was the alternative that would provide the highest probability of meeting salmon survival and recovery criteria."

The U.S. Army Corps of Engineers is committed to following this guidance. Inslee (360-902-4111) and the Corps ( need to hear from citizens that the time is now to breach the dams.

For more information:

Related Pages:
Breach the Dams Now by Matt Chaney, Idaho Mountain Express, 8/13/18

The NMFS 2000 Biological Opinion concluded that dam breaching on the lower Snake River is not necessary at this time,
but reserved this action as a contingency management alternative if the listed stocks continue to decline in the near future.

Graphic: Reveals Alternative 4 -- Dam Breaching to be the biologically preferabe alternative

. . .

Although Alternative 4 -- Dam Breaching had a number of positive benefits, it was ranked lower than the recommended plan (preferred alternative) for the reasons including, but not limited to, the following:

Excerpt from Summary: Final Lower Snake River Juvenile Salmon Migration Feasibility Report / Environmental Impact Statement by Army Corps of Engineers, February 2002

Eva Kronen, Eugene
Breach the Dams Now
Register Guard, August 13, 2018

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