the film
Commentaries and editorials

Thoughts on Dams,
Power and Salmon

by Stan Kuick
Tri-City Herald, May 6, 2022

How do all those other wheat farmers who don't barge stay in business?

Commodity Tonnage traveling through the Columbia/Snake River 1990 - 2010.  Notice that much of the tonnage comes on barge at Tri-City's and downstream, then passing through McNary lock. Being an advocate for lower Snake River dam removal, I was happy to see the recent Tri-City Herald article saying that dam removal is gaining momentum. Of course, this was followed by extensive statements from the usual pro-dam advocates. Todd Meyers said that the (lower Snake) dams provide 8% of Washington power. This is an exaggeration, because they are part of a regional power grid, not just for our state, and the accepted value is 4% for the NW region.

Altogether they produce less power than our local nuclear power plant. They also don't belong to southeastern Washington or the state, but to the federal government, in spite of Newhouse always calling them "our" dams.

As for the recent slight uptick in Snake salmon runs, three data points don't make a statistically significant trend. The long-term trend is clearly downward.

Barging is essentially subsidized, because the cost of running and maintaining the locks on the four dams exceeds the savings from barging. Also, to say that lack of barging threatens farmers' ability to stay in business is ludicrous, because transport is a very small portion of their costs. How do all those other wheat farmers who don't barge stay in business?

Stan Kuick, Richland
Thoughts on Dams, Power and Salmon
Tri-City Herald, May 6, 2022

See what you can learn

learn more on topics covered in the film
see the video
read the script
learn the songs
discussion forum
salmon animation