the film
Commentaries and editorials

Keep the Columbia and Snake
River Waterways Flowing

by Rick Keller
Idaho Farm Bureau Quarterly, August 7, 2007

The Idaho Farm Bureau supports keeping the Columbia and Snake River waterways flowing. The dams along the Columbia and Snake River system provide signifi cant economic and environmental benefits to the Pacific Northwest.

Idaho Congressman Bill Sali has introduced House Concurrent Resolution 184, which identifies the benefits of the Columbia and Snake River system. The benefits (bluefish adds: of the combined Columbia/Snake system) are:

Without the flood control provided by the dams, conditions like those seen in 1996 and 1997 would have resulted in an estimated $4.6 billion in flood damages.
(bluefish adds: the Lower Snake Dams do not provided flood control benefits and it is misleading to suggest that they do. Indeed, flooding risks have increased in Clarkston and Lewiston and the ACOE is studying alternatives to reduce the risk that is increasing yearly.)
In addition, breaching the four lower Snake River dams would allow an annual sediment load of 3-4 million cubic yards to be carried downstream to Lake Wallula, where the majority of incoming sediment would likely be deposited, and result in a total release of 75 million cubic yards of silt, exposing fish to increased toxins and higher turbidity levels.

Since 1992, under two different presidential administrations from two different political parties and at a cost of over $50 million to American taxpayers, there have been at least five studies that have investigated dam removal and reservoir draw-down on the lower Snake River. Not one recommended the implementation of dam breaching or reservoir draw-downs.

We agree with Congressman Sali. Isn't it about time we support science and common sense, close this expensive chapter, and move on?

Rick Keller, CEO Idaho Farm Bureau Federation
Keep the Columbia and Snake River Waterways Flowing
Idaho Farm Bureau Quarterly, August 2007

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