Breaching Snake River Dams
by Martha Trolin
Rep. Derek Kilmer had it backward in regard to breaching the four dams on the lower Snake River in order to save our resident orca pods, when he said, “It’s important to allow the process to be driven by science, not politics.”
In 1996, salmon scientists in their report Return to the River recommended breaching the four lower dams of the Snake River.
In 2000, NOAA Fisheries in its biological opinion and the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service reached the same conclusion.
In 2002, the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers, the same.
In 2016 in “A Review of the 2002 Snake Feasibility Report/Environmental Impact Statement Economic” Appendix 1 stated, “... [the Lower Snake dams] hydropower and navigation ... do not surpass the cost of maintaining them ... breaching the dams would save taxpayers money ...”
This past summer, 35 salmon scientists signed a letter to Gov. Jay Inslee saying breaching the lower four dams on the Snake River is our best option to save the salmon populations and thereby the 74 remaining orcas of J, K and L pods, or we will lose these iconic members of our community forever.
If you want to see our fisheries thrive and our orcas survive, tell our leaders to put science before politics.
Call the Army Corps of Engineers at 202-761-7690; Inslee at 360-902-4111; Sens. Patty Murray at 206-553-5545 or Maria Cantwell at 206-220-6400; and Kilmer at 253-272-3515 in Tacoma or 360-797-3623 in Port Angeles and demand the dams be breached now.
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