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Commentaries and editorials

Misinformation on Spilling Over Dams

by Stan Kuick
Tri-City Herald, July 17, 2018

Water runs through spillway gates of Lower Monumental Dam on the Lower Snake River in southeastern Washington. Increased spills benefit salmon. The recent barrage of articles and emails from Dan Newhouse and others on the topics of spill and dam breaching contains some potential misinformation.

The Northwest power grid often generates a surplus of power, especially in the spring when water is high, the wind is blowing and power demand is low. The surplus cannot always be sold to other regions so spill does not always cost money.

Nitrogen supersaturation is an old argument against spill. The benefits to the migrating smolts exceed the dangers. That’s why we have been doing it for 20 years.

Some articles have falsely implied that the four lower Snake dams contribute to flood control. These are run-of-the-river dams which are not designed for significant flood control.

Another false claim is that these dams are needed for irrigation. Farmers were irrigating from the Snake and Columbia long before the dams were built.

Dam beaching and removal have a solid track record of helping fish runs in the Northwest, Great Lakes and East Coast. Don’t believe it when people say it won’t work.

I challenge the Herald to interview some fisheries scientists on these topics. I believe a few of them work at PNNL.

Related Pages:
Courts Shouldn't Be Managing Columbia River by Ann Donnelly, The Columbian, 6/3/18
Your Money's Being Wasted, Congressman Says as He Visits Mid-Columbia Dams by Annette Cary, Tri-City Herald, 5/6/18
Progress in Congress on Protecting Northwest Hydropower by Congressman Dan Newhouse, Quad City Herald, 5/3/18


Stan Kuick
Misinformation on Spilling Over Dams
Tri-City Herald, July 17, 2018

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