Elwha, Snake River Dams
by Krestine Reed
Breach within reach
The well-attended Kilmer town hall offered welcome public outreach on may issues of concern for north Olympic Peninsula communities. Good to hear Rep. Kilmer’s position on so many issues.
I was a little dismayed when he went way afield with a response to a Snake River dam question.
He unashamedly commingled removal of the Elwha dams and breaching the four lower Snake River dams as if there were a comparison other than the word dams.
They are two completely different dam structures requiring completely different processes in order to restore and repair the ecosystem degradation.
Freeing the Elwha River required entire cement dam structure removal, literally; Snake River dam breaching requires only earthen berm breaching.
Its like comparing apples with nuts, really.
Elwha dam removal took explosives and years of debris removal; lower Snake River dam breaching will take two bulldozers to notch the berms after drawdown and then just simple controlled hydraulic breaching.
No explosives, no years of heavy equipment moving debris, just gravity-assisted river water freely flowing to the ocean that will ultimately provide chinook salmon unencumbered access to and from their native spawning grounds in the Snake River watershed.
Rep. Kilmer must have forgotten the hours of consultation from a retired Corps engineer and expert on lower Snake River dams, Jim Waddell.
But his constituents will not have the same forgetfulness in a couple years.
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