Lower Four Snake River Dams
by Richard Ding
The lower Snake River’s four dams -- Ice Harbor, Lower Monumental, Little Goose and Lower Granite -- all are built with fish ladders.
However, the Snake River has 15 dams. Hells Canyon Dam is 247 miles upstream from the mouth of the Snake. It was the third and final dam of the Hells Canyon Project, which included Brownlee, built in 1959, and Oxbow, built in 1961. None of these dams were built with fish passage systems. Thus, the Snake is blocked to upstream fish migration at River Mile 247. The Snake is 1,078 miles long, leaving 831 miles of the river permanently blocked to fish migration.
Although not perfect, with the improvements that have been made in the fish passage facilities over the past two decades, the lower four dams on the Snake are not the major problem. My point is that it would not make sense to remove the lower four dams and ignore the dams which totally block fish migration on the Snake and its tributaries for two-thirds of its distance.
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