Breach the Dams Nowby Eva Kronen
Register Guard, August 13, 2018
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 (www.nwp.usace.army.mil/Contact) need to hear from citizens that the time is now to breach the dams.
For more information: www.damsense.org.
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.
. . .
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
- Determination that breaching is not necessary at this time to recover listed salmon and steelhead stocks
(breaching has not been determined necessary at this time by the NMFS 2000 Biological Opinion)
- Maximum negative economic impacts to current system users (i.e., loss of power, navigation, and irrigation)
- High sediment movement in the short term
- Uncertainty of possible harmful effects associated with the potential resuspension of contaminants in sediments
- High degree of uncertainty in the implementation and longest period before positive benefits to listed stocks
- Most negative impact to low-income and minority populations.
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