the film
Commentaries and editorials

Dam Amnesia

by Mary Minton
Lewiston Tribune, December 25, 2021

(Darin Oswald) Fish ladders at the the Lower Granite Dam had water that was too warm for salmon, but turbine manipulation saved the day. In anticipation of the June 1975, dedication of the fourth lower Snake River dam, the Lewiston Tribune published a huge special section.

Included in this edition was a story with this first sentence: "Although completion of the chain of four dams on the lower Snake River has meant good news for power consumers, boaters and would-be shippers of commodities, it's meant bad times for the fish and their friendly enemies, the fishermen."

Not even a "maybe."

The article could proclaim this because a report had been recently issued by the National Marine Fisheries Service detailing the "hazards to the fish and pinpointing the destructive effect of the dams on the fish runs." And they had data from even before that fourth dam.

They were already doing the mitigation of habitats, fish transport, spillways, screens, etc. So far it hadn't helped, but they tried to be optimistic: "I think we can do it if we just stay with it," said the head of the project.

Remember the definition of insanity, generally attributed to Albert Einstein?

Apparently, we have forgotten that fish survival was questioned even at the time of dam construction. A bad case of dam amnesia.

After 50 years, it is time to stop the insanity.

Mary Minton, Clarkston
Dam Amnesia
Lewiston Tribune, December 25, 2021

See what you can learn

learn more on topics covered in the film
see the video
read the script
learn the songs
discussion forum
salmon animation