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Environmental Groups Want to
Breach the Snake Dams

by Samanth Wohlfeil
Pacific NW Inlander, August 3, 2023


20 years ago, Lonesome Larry was the only sockeye salmon to make the 800-mile trip from the Pacific Ocean to Redfish Lake, once a popular spawning area for salmon. Environmental groups have given 60 days' notice that they plan to sue the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers and seek an order to breach the four Lower Snake River dams. The groups -- Columbia Riverkeeper, Idaho Conservation League, Idaho Rivers United and the Northwest Sportfishing Industry Association -- hope to prevent the extinction of Snake River sockeye.

In recent summers, water behind the dams has grown too hot for adult salmon to survive on their way upstream to spawn. In July, water behind all eight dams on the lower Snake and lower Columbia rivers exceeded the 68 degree threshold where salmon start to suffer.

The groups argue that the Corps is violating the Endangered Species Act by killing fish with the continued operation of the Snake River dams.

If the Corps doesn't honor "its commitment to develop a credible plan to restore abundant Snake River salmon," the groups say they'll ask a judge to order "all necessary relief" to cool the river, "up to and including dam removal."

Samanth Wohlfeil
Environmental Groups Want to Breach the Snake Dams
Pacific NW Inlander, August 3, 2023

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