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Breach the Snake Dams

by Patrick Robichaud
Moscow-Pullman Daily News, September 28, 2017

Nez Perce Tribal members paddle down the river Saturday afternoon at the 'Free the Snake Flotilla' (Rachel Sun photo) The Lower Snake River dams cause irreparable damage to the river ecosystem, fail to produce promised economic benefits and are extremely costly to maintain. To breach or remove the Lower Snake River dams is the only option to restore this important section of river to its natural free-flowing state.

Dams alter the river ecosystem especially for ocean-going fish, who must risk passage to return to spawn. The reservoirs behind the dams raise the temperature of the river and their slack-waters slow the downstream progress of the salmon smolts.

Lower Granite Reservoir, by Lewiston and Clarkston, is filling up with sediment carried by the Salmon, Snake and Clearwater rivers. Dredging must occur at regular intervals to keep the waterway safe and navigable and costs millions to complete. Container shipping has declined substantially since 2015 as a result of the Port of Portland closing many of its operations. This diminishes the usefulness of the Lower Snake River dams as they only ship wheat. If the dams were breached, trains would transport the grain to Portland or the Tri-Cities.

The cities of Lewiston and Clarkston would be better off with a free-flowing river with a more diverse array of recreation and fishing opportunities than the dammed reservoirs that exist now. It is in the best interest of the people of Idaho, Washington and Oregon to breach the Lower Snake River dams.

Patrick Robichaud, Pullman
Breach the Snake Dams
Moscow-Pullman Daily News, September 28, 2017

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