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Commentaries and editorials

Prime Row Crops, Vineyards,
Orchards, Trucks and Salmon

by Staff
The Oregonian, September 16, 2009

Responses to Comment of the Day: The Best Way to Restore Salmon is to Remove the Dams by Luddness, The Oregonian, 9/16/9

Posted by Observerx on 09/16/09 at 2:15PM
Protecting these four dams is not an act of protecting the economy, green energy or any other important social infrastructure.

These dams generate enough energy to power Seattle, without any CO2 emissions. Furthermore, the dams help provide the important flexibility required to balance wind generation, by providing backup when the wind isn't blowing. Given the amount of wind generation planned for the Northwest, we are going to need every bit of flexibility we have. These dams do a lot more than provide an avenue for "barging grain".

Salmon in the Classroom produces winning art in the fifth grade (2008), sponsored by Washington Wheat Commission. Posted by mstauffer on 09/16/09 at 4:13PM
If the dams are gone, the grain will still move to port, the irrigators will still irrigate and the world will turn nicely just as it did in the early 70s before any of these dams were built. The return of the salmon will open tremendous economic opportunity.

well, i will have to respectfully disagree with the authors last paragraph.

The snake river irrigation system of agricultural fields represents collectively over 400,000 acres of bountiful production of prime row crop, vineyard, and orchard lands. These are "direct pumpers' from the mainstream Snake and Columbia with an intricate distribution system. Most of this production land was not here in the 70's. Loss of the dams means loss of available irrigation water. Most of these lands are in production ONLY because water is available from these bodies of water...without it these lands would just be dry and arid.

Moving grain to port would become an economic hardship as it is far more costly to use inter-model (truck,rail,barge)than the current more direct methods.

We are also failing to consider the environmental impacts of increasing rail and truck usage (as a result of further inefficient transport distances and further market to consumer distances due to the loss of Agriculture in the area). The measure of energy efficiency in transportation is the amount of energy used for the service provided, and can be expressed as the number of BTUs required to move one ton of cargo one mile (a ton-mile). In studies comparing rail, truck, and water, shallow-draft water transportation has been proven to be the most energy efficient, producing the least amount of associated pollution, method of freight transportation for moving bulk raw materials. To move one ton of freight using 1 gallon of fuel a truck will travel 59 miles, a train will travel 202 miles and a shallow draft barge 515 miles according to the NSTB.

Finally, I do not know what economic benefits the author could be referring to. If referring to increased cyclical, seasonal minimum wage sportsman/tourism jobs then we need to look at the loss of family wage full time Agricultural/processing/shipping/and associated jobs. I do not see the economic benefit.

Posted by oregonianrdr on 09/16/09 at 4:15PM

Luddness ignores several basic arguments. How many of the 13 fish species covered by this new BiOp actually return to spawn by going up the Snake River? Only four! The other nine species will not be impacted at all if this risky dam breaching scheme were implemented. Second: the most envirionmentally benign way to move cargo is by barge, NOT rail or truck. Barging also is the most fuel efficient way to ship cargo-- cargo moves farther on a gallon of fuel by barge than by truck or rail. Lastly, trucks in accidents on I-84 or W-14 are a greater hazard to Columbia River salmon habitat than are barges. A truck accident recently at Cascades Locks dumped asphalt into the Columbia or a tributary crossing under the freeway. If Luddness cares about the Columbia Gorge, he shold argue for more cargo on barges and less on trucks. Barge more, not less and help save our planet.

Related Pages:
Irrigation from 4 Lower Snake Reservoirs Fact Sheet 1993 compiled by Reed Burkholder
Washington Top Forty Agriculture Commodities WA Agricultural Statistics 1997-1998, U.S. Department of Agriculture
Shipping Wheat: Truck or Barge? by Ken Casavant, March 1995, Wheat & Barley Shipments on Haul Roads in Eastern Washington
Snake River Barge Rates by Tidewater Barge Lines, Inc., Port-to-Port Commodity Rates, Summer 1999

Prime Row Crops, Vineyards, Orchards, Trucks and Salmon
The Oregonian, September 16, 2009

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