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Dam It!

by James Bergdahl
Pacific NW Inlander, January 9, 2020

Graphic: Survival of juvenile salmon from the Washington/Idaho border to beyond Bonneville Dam has averaged around 50% survival.  In other words, half of them die while migrating through the federal hydropower system. Regarding the assessment of the costs and benefits of Lower Snake River dam removals (see "The $375,000 Question," 1/2/20) by Gov. Inslee: Unfortunately, our Rep. Cathy McMorris-Rodgers is blinded by her religious devotion to agri-business and their willingness to destroy sea-run salmon in the Snake River System, one of the largest salmon-producing watersheds in the entire Columbia Basin. Inslee is well justified to seek this review at this time since all the dams are in Washington state. She and Rep. Dan Newhouse should commend Inslee for only spending 50 percent of the funds allotted for the review. The report shows how lame and one-sided the excuses are for leaving the dams standing.

All the farmers need to do without the dams is to truck their grain and beans to Pasco and put their produce on barges there instead of the Lewiston-Clarkston area. They have received billions of dollars in other farm subsidies beside these dams; it is time for them to give back to the people of the Pacific Northwest at this critical time for salmon. The irrigation near the lowermost dam's reservoir also seems trivial compared to our dire need for salmon recovery in the Snake River watershed.

If we keep doing the same thing year after year over decades and it does not recover the runs, then it is time to do something different, and dam removal is the most intelligent alternative.

James Bergdahl, Spokane, Wash.
Dam It!
Pacific NW Inlander, January 9, 2020

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