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Breach Snake Dams, Most at Hearing Say

by Associated Press
Spokesman Review, March 9, 2000

Those in favor of dismantling four dams on the lower Snake River in Washington state outnumbered those defending the dams at a public hearing hosted by federal officials Tuesday.

The officials have been gathering testimony throughout the Northwest on what should be done with the dams. The hearings concluded Wednesday evening with meetings in Twin Falls and Juneau, Alaska.

Jerry Scheid, 63, who grows wheat and potatoes west of Idaho Falls, said the Endangered Species Act and tribal treaties make it clear that efforts must be made to save endangered salmon and steelhead runs.

Scheid fears that if the dams are not breached, the federal government will require eastern Idaho farmers to give up more of their irrigation water to help move young salmon downstream faster.

"I think we've studied the question long enough," Scheid said. "If we don't breach the dams, we'll see increased demands for more and more water to increase streamflows, and I think that could be an immense threat."

Jerry Myers, who lives in Salmon and is a river guide, said there are 30 to 40 businesses in that small mountain town, from air charter services to grocery stores to outfitters, that depend on remaining steelhead runs.

Associated Press
Breach Snake Dams, Most at Hearing Say
Spokesman Review, March 9, 2000

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