Columbia Riverkeeper is fighting to protect salmon from hot water caused by dams and climate change.
Salmon need cool, clean water. But as our climate warms, so do our rivers. On the Columbia and Snake, dams make the heat pollution even worse. The large, shallow reservoirs soak up the sun’s energy and make the water too hot. In 2003, EPA found that dams are the main cause of temperature problems in the Columbia and Snake rivers.
Speak Up for Salmon & Orcas
Riverkeeper fights for cold water
Riverkeeper is challenging the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency’s (EPA) failure to prevent temperature pollution in the Columbia and Lower Snake rivers. On December 20, 2019, the Ninth Circuit sided with Riverkeeper and ruled that Trump’s EPA violated the Clean Water Act and must issue a plan to protect salmon from hot water. Riverkeeper will keep fighting until EPA does its duty.
Riverkeeper uses science to find solutions
How can we reduce water temperature and recover salmon? Remove the four Lower Snake River dams. How do we know it will work? Riverkeeper used sophisticated computer modeling software developed by the EPA to study how Lower Snake River Dams affect water temperature. We found that a free-flowing Lower Snake River would quickly return to a safe temperature (68 °F), even during extremely hot and dry years like 2015, when hot water killed hundreds of thousands of salmon.
- Lower Snake River Dam Removal Temperature Modeling White Paper by Columbia Riverkeeper
- Ninth Circuit Court: EPA Broke the Law, Must Plan to Reduce Columbia and Snake River Temperatures, December 20, 2019
- Judge Orders EPA to Protect Columbia Basin Salmon, October 17, 2018
- Columbia Riverkeeper Comments on EPA’s draft study on thermal refuges in the lower Columbia River
- Columbia & Snake Rivers Temperature Total Maximum Daily Load Preliminary Draft, July 2003
Why Does Climate Change Matter to the Columbia?