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Snake River Hits Endangered List

by Holly Zuluaga
KEPR TV, April 17, 2009

Spring runoff spills over a Ice Harbor dam on the Lower Snake River. WA STATE--The Snake River shoots up the charts to become one of the most endangered rivers in the nation.

"By historical accounts the Columbia River would actually rise, the water levels would rise when these salmon started to come into the river," Fish and Wildlife representative Dan Haas said.

It's a different picture now.

The salmon population dropped dramatically since dams went in, from millions to thousands.

It's not the only problem, but it's a big one.

"Of course they block upward migration," Dan Haas said.

Those dams are the target of a conservation group called American Rivers.

It listed the lower Snake River third on its endangered list this year.

The Army Corps of Engineers say they've made changes to make it easier on fish.

They barging salmon to help them through and have built giant fish slides.

Even though, American Rivers says up to 80% still die on their way to the ocean, but those dams were put there for a reason.

"There are a lot of trade offs, yes, you're impacting the environment, but you're also benefiting society," Dan Haas said.

Local grain growers rely on the dams to transport their crop, and your power bill is lower because of them, too.

However, the dams have also changed the way things have been done for years.

"If you ask the Tribes or if you ask the commercial fisherman, salmon are important to them, they are a livelihood, their bread and butter," Dan Haas said.

The issue will soon be before the White House, and a decision if the old plans are working or changes should be made: to keep the dams in or let them go.

Related Sites:
Endangered Rivers Report by American Rivers

Holly Zuluaga
Snake River Hits Endangered List <- Watch VIDEO at original site.
KEPR TV, April 17, 2009

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