Remove the Damsby Janice Inghram
Moscow-Pullman Daily News, July 25, 2018
The agency and its ratepayers have spent over $800 million on "system improvements" on these four dams, with dismal results.
Bonneville Power Administration is in deep financial trouble and intends to cut Fish and Wildlife mitigation spending. Much of this cost is attributable to the four dams on the Lower Snake River.
BPA's most expensive and least effective mitigation costs involve keeping the LSRDs in place. The agency and its ratepayers have spent over $800 million on "system improvements" on these four dams, with dismal results. NOAA fisheries acknowledge that juvenile fish survival rates have remained flat over the past 15 years. Consequently, Snake River wild salmon and steelhead adult return rates are far below levels needed for recovery. Snake River sockeye and B-run steelhead are in fact on a path to extinction.
So called "fixing" of dams does not address the smolt predation, longer juvenile fish travel times and fish-killing temperatures caused by the reservoirs behind the dams. There is only one way to fix a reservoir: Remove it.
Bryan Mercier, manager of BPA's Fish and Wildlife Division, recently told Eric Barker of the Lewiston Tribune that BPA will "look at cuts to programs that can't demonstrate success when it come to improving fish runs." BPA can start by abandoning the LSRDs, as all its produced power is surplus which has not been needed to meet the load demands of its contracted customers since 2009. BPA sells its surplus power on the open market at below production costs.
If BPA is going to "cut programs that can't demonstrate success," the agency can start by abandoning the LSRDs. Failure to do so will move both the BPA and Snake River fish closer to extinction.
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