Home Biological science Advocates show support for removal of Snake River dams

Advocates show support for removal of Snake River dams


They held a series of speeches, songs and dances as they called on Congress to act.

WASHINGTON DC, DC — On Thursday, tribal members and Salmon Orca Project advocates met with federal officials, calling for the removal of the Snake River dams.

They held a series of speeches, songs and dances as they called on Congress to act.

“Action must be taken,” said Nez Perce Tribe President Samuel Penney. “We believe there is enough biological and scientific information available to make a decision that should be based on that and not be a purely political decision. The extinction crisis that we find ourselves in right now, there has to be have an urgent action – there is no time for further studies.”

The Biden administration released two reports on Tuesday claiming that removing dams on the lower Snake River may be needed to restore salmon runs to historic levels. Replacing the energy created by the dams is possible, but it will cost between 11 and 19 billion dollars.

A draft report by National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration scientists found that changes are needed to restore salmon, ranging from removing one to four dams on the lower Snake River to reintroducing salmon in areas entirely blocked by dams. A second report investigated how power supplies could be replaced in the event of a dam failure.

However, groups such as Northwest RiverPartners are pushing back, saying the data does not show that removing the dams would necessarily recover salmon. The group, which represents community-owned electric utilities and clean energy agencies, says the hydropower produced is essential to combating climate change.

Major benefits of dams include making the Snake River navigable to Lewiston, Idaho, allowing barges to transport wheat and other crops to ocean ports. Removing the dams would require improvements in road and rail transportation to move crops.

The dams also generate electricity, supply irrigation water to farmers, and provide recreational opportunities for residents.

Last month, Senator Patty Murray and Governor Jay Inslee announced that replacing the benefits provided by the four giant hydroelectric dams on the lower Snake River in Washington state would cost between $10.3 and $27.2 billions of dollars.

More than a dozen runs of salmon and rainbow trout are threatened with extinction in the Columbia and Snake rivers. Billions of dollars have been spent on the recovery of salmon and rainbow trout, but the fish continue to decline.

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