Dams Cost Idahoby Chris Frazee
Idaho Statesman, May 25, 2006
Salmon and steelhead are immensely important to rural riverside communities like Riggins, Salmon and Stanley. When returns are good, anglers will flock to those communities to fish, buy gas and supplies and to stay in the local hotels. This year, returns are low, lower than even last year's. The low returns are causing a lot of worry in those small towns that stand to benefit from salmon money.
It is clear why Idaho's salmon are suffering, and consequently why small communities are suffering: Scientists point to four obsolete dams on the lower Snake River. Contrary to popular belief, these dams are not big power producers and they provide no flood control. In essence, these dams are costing taxpayers - we are paying for the ineffective salmon recovery methods that they necessitate. When these dams come out, the economic benefits to towns like Riggins will be tremendous.
The federal government needs a salmon plan that actually brings salmon back to Idaho, and it's clear that the best solution is the removal of those four lower Snake River dams in Eastern Washington. Small riverside towns are not getting the economic kickback from salmon that they should be, and that's simply not fair.
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