We must unite around solutions to remove the four Lower Snake River Dams.
The Snake River
The Snake River is the Columbia’s largest tributary. The Snake and its feeder streams—many of which are mighty rivers in their own right—drain most of Idaho. Historically, the Snake River produced between one third and one half of the Columbia’s salmon, including millions of Chinook, steelhead, coho, and sockeye. The headwaters of the Snake, high in the Idaho mountains, are still some of the best salmon breeding areas in the Lower 48, insulated from development and the worst effects of climate change. Nevertheless, Snake River salmon and steelhead populations have collapsed and some scientists say they could go extinct in the next 20 years.
Lower Snake River Dams
For salmon and steelhead, the trouble starts when the Snake River leaves the Idaho mountains. The Snake flows roughly 150 miles through eastern Washington to join the Columbia near Tri-Cities—a stretch of water called the Lower Snake River. In the 1960s and 70s, the Army Corps of Engineers built four dams on the Lower Snake River to allow barging and generate a small amount of electricity. As scientists, tribes, and fishermen all warned, these four dams decimated the Snake River’s salmon and steelhead. The four dams transformed the Lower Snake River into a series of warm, shallow lakes where predators, dam turbines, and hot water kill too many migrating salmon.
Restoring the Lower Snake River
The situation is dire: Snake River salmon and Southern Resident orcas are close to extinction. But there’s still time to restore the Snake and Columbia rivers’ once-mighty salmon runs. As a region, we must unite around solutions to remove the four Lower Snake River Dams and re-invest in regional transportation, irrigation, and energy infrastructure. Working together, we can have a future that includes salmon, agriculture, and clean energy.
- Talking Points for Snake River Dam Removal, 2022
- Blog, The Path to Dam Removal Feb. 7, 2021
- Press Release for 2020 BiOp Notice Letter
- Notice of Intent to Sue for 2020 BiOp by Earthjustice
- Economics of Snake River Dam Removal by EcoNorthwest
- Lower Snake River Dams Power Replacement Study by NW Energy Coalition
- Scientific White Paper: Southern Resident Orcas and Snake River Salmon
Legal advocacy and community organizing stop pollution, fight fossil fuels, save salmon, engage communities, and clean up Hanford.