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Commentaries and editorials

Invest in Fish

by Russ Kiefer
Lewiston Tribune, January 3, 2021

Graphic: Snake River Steelhead have triggered the Early Warning Indicator of the Federal Columbia River Power System's 2014 Supplemental Biological Opinion I’m writing in response to the study that puts the blame for poor returns of Snake River salmon on conditions in the ocean instead of the dams.

The Comparative Survival Study has compared the smolt-to-adult returns of wild chinook and steelhead from mid-Columbia rivers (Yakima, Snake, Umatilla, John Day and Deschutes). These populations show similar patterns of SARs in response to ocean conditions (good and bad). The main difference is that all the other rivers have consistently higher SARs, and at levels that would recover Snake River fish (CSS reports at

Just like wind and solar, hydropower does not always match up with our needs. The four Snake River dams produce the most power in the spring when our needs are the lowest, and the least power in the summer and winter when our needs are the highest.

We should replace the power from these four dams with the following:

For about the same amount of money and effort to keep these dams and at best prevent the fish from going extinct, we could take the actions that have the best chance to recover the fish, do more to reduce global warming, make our power system more reliable and improve our economy.

Related Pages:
Carbon Sequestration a Comment and the Federal Response in the CRSO EIS process, 2019-2020.

Russ Kiefer, Boise
Invest in Fish
Lewiston Tribune, January 3, 2021

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