Don't Expect "Real Information"
by Bonnie Schonefeld
This month Kristin Meira of Pacific Northwest Waterways Association will present in Lewiston what she refers to as "real information" about the Columbia-Snake River system.
But let's look at realities she likely won't tell you.
In the past dozen years, the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers spent more than $30 million on sediment management just in the Lower Granite pool, not including the $6.7 million dredging contract the corps just awarded for more dredging this winter.
While annual freight volume on the Columbia and Snake rivers total around 56 million tons, the Snake contributes only 5 percent of that total.
Since 2000, the number of loaded barges passing Lower Granite Dam has declined from 1,058 barges to 314, a drop of 70 percent and less than one barge per day.
The corps spent $800 million to "fix" the dams for juvenile fish passage. However, fish survival through the hydrosystem remains around 50 percent due to extended travel times, exposure to predators and high water temperature. Delayed mortality from repeated dam passages further reduces smolt numbers as they enter the ocean.
Since 2009, Bonneville Power Administration has not needed any power from the lower Snake River dams to meet its contracted load demand.
Thirty-three prominent fish scientists and a separate group of whale scientists recently stated without removal of the lower Snake River dams, Puget Sound's southern resident killer whales will become extinct.
These facts provide "real information" based on hard data. Don't expect the same from Meira's creative spin.
Willfully Ignorant by Bonnie Schonefeld, Lewiston Tribune, 9/13/18
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