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McMorris Rodgers, Others
Tour Ice Harbor

by Abigail Beaton
Cheney Free Press, June 29, 2023

They explained the old methods of harnessing hydropower,
as well as facilitating salmon runs.

Ice Harbor Dam on the Lower Snake River holds back Lake Sacajawea, the source of irrigation water for 47,000 acres of farmland. A years-long federal study has found the many costs of removing four Snake River dams are far higher than keeping them in operation. BURBANK -- Several members of the congressional House Energy and Commerce Committee spent Monday in Eastern Washington, specifically to learn about the importance of dams on the Snake and Columbia Rivers.

Committee Chairwoman Rep. Cathy McMorris Rodgers, R-Spokane, was joined by as Subcommittee on Water, Wildlife and Fisheries Chairman Republican Rep. Cliff Bentz, R-Oregon, and Rep. Mike Collins, R-Georgia, for a tour of Ice Harbor Dam, the lower-most Snake River Dam

The congressional delegation and others met to see the inner workings of the dam as well as the innovative technology and methods being used to secure power and wildlife safety.

Within the dam, guides explained the importance of the Snake River dams, as well as the impact of the Ice Harbor on surrounding communities.

They explained the old methods of harnessing hydropower, as well as facilitating salmon runs.

"At full capacity, ( Ice Harbor Dam alone) could power more than 420,000," Bentz said, speaking on the impact of the dam.

Recently the dam has been installing new turbine blades that have a 98.5% survival rate for the fish that run through it.

While on the tour the Congressmen were able to see the dam in action as well as view the difference in the traditional and surface level (new) spill ways.

The tour also explained the lock system used for barges and other watercraft that pass through the lock portion of the dam system.

After the tour, a press field hearing took place outside the dam entrance, where the representatives addressed questions about the dam and its effect on the environment.

The predominant theme of the answers from all of the representatives present pointed toward the improvement of the dam systems as well as the quantified results of the dam's operations.

"The reality is that dams and salmon can and do co-exist," McMorris Rogers said.

Following the visit to Ice Harbor, Republican members of the committee convened a hearing in Richland to talk about the importance of the dams.

McGregor Co. representatives were among those addressing the committee on how the dams provide affordable electricity, navigation, recreation, flood control and more for Eastern Washington.

(bluefish corrects: Ice Harbor does not provide flood control. It is a run-of-river dam)
Related Pages:
Corps Assembles and Begins Installing 2nd Advanced Technology Turbine at Ice Harbor Dam by USACE, Daily Fly, 3/2/22
Ice Harbor Gets 150 Tons of Fish-friendly Stainless Steel by Annette Cary, Tri-City Herald, 5/13/16

Abigail Beaton
McMorris Rodgers, Others Tour Ice Harbor
Cheney Free Press, June 29, 2023

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