Removing Dams is Still the Best Answer
by Bert Bowler
Idaho Statesman, May 26, 2009
The science of salmon recovery in the Snake River Basin continues to support dam removal as the surest way to restore Idaho's and eastern Oregon's treasured legacy. Those who say otherwise act as apologists for the four dams and reservoirs built between Lewiston, Idaho and Pasco, Wash., from 1961 to 1975.
Rationalizing that both salmon and the lower Snake River dams can co-exist does disservice to the issue and reflects little knowledge of the biological requirements of salmon and steelhead.
The debate needs to focus on restoring the lower Snake to a functional free-flowing river rather than a series of dysfunctional reservoirs. Because of those reservoirs, Idaho sends water from the upper Snake River Basin during the irrigation period and drains North Idaho's Dworshak Reservoir 80 feet during the peak recreational season. Salmon have little to show for those impacts to agriculture and recreation.
Discussions about replacing the lost power without using fossil fuels, mitigating transportation (barging) with rail and improved highways and meeting the needs of other affected stakeholders would constitute a beginning to the current salmon recovery stalemate.
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