It is a false choice. How does lower Snake River dam removal affect tribal treaty fishing rights? Agriculture, Salmon, and the Snake River Dams . Already we see the effects of climate change reducing the mountain snowpack on which Northwest hydropower production depends. The difference lies in the number of mainstem dams they encounter. Arnold Schwarzenegger’s popular and successful “Million Solar Roofs” program could be instituted in the Pacific Northwest as well. The model demonstrated that the four lower Snake River dams were the most significant factor preventing recovery. The idea that the relatively small amount of hydropower now produced at the lower Snake River dams must be replaced with power from carbon-emitting fossil-fueled sources is a myth perpetrated by special interests opposed to salmon recovery – many of whom have spent years denying power production’s role in creating climate change. Those benefits include increased commercial fishing, a resurgence of recreational jobs and businesses, and a substantial reduction in the expensive, wasteful (and largely ineffective) salmon programs now in place. Without this action, it is difficult to fathom the suite of actions that would indeed meet these same obligations. The stakes are high as the region considers the best options for dam operations. Box 67Spokane, WA 99210 Phone:  509-747-2030. If we stay on the current path, taxpayers will not only continue to foot the bill for costly salmon recovery but will shoulder the massive cost of extinction. Because these dams can’t provide flood control and have virtually no storage capacity, they can reach that maximum for just a few days in any year (during a rapid spring snowmelt for example). The United States has largely failed in its obligation. 3. Fishing is of course recognized as a cause of mortality for Snake River salmon and steelhead but since listing during the 1990s under the Endangered Species Act the federal government has tightly controlled harvest. For more information: http://www.workingsnakeriver.org. A Long Legal Fight for the River Over the past 25 years, conservation and fishing groups have gone to court challenging federal agency hydropower systems operation plans that failed to protect threatened and endangered salmon in the Columbia River basin. Together, the four Lower Snake River dams have a “nameplate” (maximum) generating capacity of 3,000 megawatts. A hundred years ago, fishing impacts were significant. The dams, for example, kill between 40 and 92 percent of the migrating Snake River salmon and steelhead. Instead of following this species protection law, the federal government has ignored its requirements, reinterpreted them in inconsistent and dangerous ways, and attempted to rewrite them. Compelling evidence proves dams kill salmon. The federal dams on the Columbia and Snake rivers in the Pacific Northwest are a major factor in the decline of these fish and yet the federal government continues to minimize the harm caused by these dams. What salmon and salmon-based communities need most is real leadership: Members of Congress and a President who will bring together stakeholders from across the Northwest and beyond to articulate and implement a shared vision that includes abundant salmon populations, thriving rural communities, and clean, affordable energy for the region. The U.S. Army Corps of Engineers has developed and constructed fish cooling systems at Lower Granite and Little Goose dams to alleviate warming water concerns. ?j�xO;"��!X��k����!�#k;��۲���QB(�,a� A8�j2�OFDS�P/�� ��h3�0���=Z�f��}I��R3~5�5��V,L=�R�p��uï�͝x��������,T��� ˆ&Q �Q��&�v����v94(���a�8%�R����0���B��A�j���ڇ�=��#��Ӱ����BRLvA>]Ae�Mx�G\Eɪ^5��4��>��Qq��龜�R�G�[\j���P�&���p���Y��q6���i����V�q��GDG�>��}n�j�%��p�ju�ϤKM�����8�M���q�Q�M What can Congress and the President do to solve this problem and restore salmon and steelhead to abundance? The issues on the Snake River are a major gushing wound that require serious attention, not a simple paper cut that a bandaid could handle. As the Columbia and Snake Rivers were populated with dams and other forms of habitat destruction, opportunities to fish have been severely reduced. The United States’ obligation was simply to ensure that it did not do anything to cause the decline of these fish or to stop the tribal nations from fishing. However, there’s absolutely no conflict between fighting global warming and recovering threatened and endangered Northwest salmon and steelhead stocks. Taxpayers could be liable for billions to tens of billions of dollars in compensation payments to treaty tribes and Canada if the fish go extinct. Federal agencies that manage the dams released their Columbia River System Operations Draft Environmental Impact Statement Friday morning. They are starving to death, dying as the four lower snake river dams cut off salmon runs, killing off their food source. The Corps of Engineers is studying options to address this serious problem, including raising the series of levees that block the towns from the river. When it comes to gauging the potential for new sources of truly clean, renewable energy, study after study finds that the region -- especially if one includes Wyoming and Montana -- contains tens of thousands of megawatts of clean wind power at fairly low cost. Fewer goods, mostly fertilizer and fuel, travel upriver. Advocates hope to have the dams out by 2024 . Since this time the Lower Snake River has been used as a means for getting products to markets. Currently, wheat, barley and other goods are barged down river from Lewiston, ID and a couple other ports on the lower Snake River. How does global warming affect Columbia-Snake River salmon and steelhead survival? How much energy do these four dams produce? The role that dams and reservoirs, habitat, hatcheries, harvest, predators and the ocean play in salmon survival is well understood. Congress and Bonneville to decide fate of lower Snake River dams. %PDF-1.4 %���� 5. Shipping statistics from Ice Harbor indicate water-born commerce peaked on the lower Snake in 1995 and has been on a long, steady decline ever since. The draft EIS identifies and evaluates a no-action alternative and five alternatives, one of which includes breaching the four lower Snake River dams. The Obama Administration along with the 111th Congress can help by fostering a forward-looking dialogue that will serve as the foundation for a durable strategy to bring wild salmon back to the Columbia-Snake Basin, and to keep communities healthy and whole. More on Climate Change. Tribal, state and federal fisheries biologists have all supported the removal of the four lower Snake River dams as a keystone action necessary for any valid salmon plan. Why do scientists support partial removal of the 4 lower Snake River dams? As a federal court found in 1994, the federal hydrosystem is calling out for a “complete overhaul” not just the tweaks and minor adjustments the federal government seem willing to provide. They are “run-of-river dams,” which means they don’t store water. The Northwest would not be what it is today without hydroelectricity from the region’s dams. And it would devastate fishing communities from California to Alaska and into Idaho. As habitat destruction and dam construction has increased in the Columbia Basin, populations have declined and fishing opportunities been severely restricted. system adequacy were based on annual and monthly —metricsa conservative approach that ensured a “like-for-like” replacement of the LSR Dams. ���.Ӭ#�+�jC�U�a-���i7?�B�0l�A�vձ�? Prior to the dam building era that began in the early 1900s, salmon were commercially caught at high rates in the Columbia River. In order to restore Snake River salmon populations to sustainable numbers, scientists have determined that they must consistently return adults to the uppermost Snake River dam, Lower Granite, at a minimum rate of 2% to 6%. Water levels in the reservoirs can only be increased a few feet. If the dams are removed, how will farmers who use these dams’ reservoirs to ship in crops in barges deliver their products to market? How much will it cost to replace that power? The 4 dams produce their greatest amount of power during spring runoff, when power demand, and consequently price, are at their lowest levels. Naturally occurring sediment coming down the Snake River, is piling up behind Lower Granite dam and raising the level of the river. LSR Freight Transport graph . Our communities and future generations need and deserve both. The only option the Corps is not studying is removal of the four dams. The federal government wants to keep the Four Lower Snake River Dams in place. 8 . The lower Snake River dams have enabled large quantities of grain to be shipped by barge from Lewiston, Idaho all the way to the mouth of the Columbia River, 465 miles away, making the ninth-largest city in the nation’s 39th most populous state the West Coast’s farthest-inland port. The study also offers a framework from which the federal agencies can draw as they develop a new plan for dam operations. All replacement portfolios resulted inannual LOLP values . The confluence of the Snake and Columbia rivers at Burbank, Washington is part of Lake Wallula, the reservoir of McNary Dam. Each section provides a summary of the topic context and presents the perspectives of those who support the … The four Lower Snake dams were the last built in the federal Columbia hydropower system. 11. Only one solution will really solve the flood risk issue: removing the four dams on the lower Snake River. The Lower Snake River Project's four dams and navigation locks have transformed this part of the Snake River into a series of reservoirs. As a result of this extensive research, hundreds of federal, state, tribal and independent scientists have concluded that removing the four lower Snake River dams is the best and perhaps only means to protect these fish from extinction and recover healthy populations. The cumulative effect of eight dams on the lower Columbia and lower Snake Rivers is too much for salmon survival and if the four dams on the lower Snake were removed (cutting the total number of dams Snake River stocks face in half), these salmon can rebound to healthy levels. Congress can make lower Snake River dam removal the cornerstone of a recovery plan that begins to reign in the federal agencies’ spending cycle that is ineffective and out of control. Raising levees, dredging, and other measures will cost millions of dollars over the long term and pose threats to fish, wildlife and recreation opportunities. Americans are ready for effective solutions to one of the toughest natural resources challenges of our day. The dams generate a negligible amount of power, and it will be cheaper to take them out than to update them to modern standards.” No fish= No orcas ! Although this study demonstrates … From 1994 to 2004, they ranged from 0.35 to 2.5 percent, exceeding 2 percent in just a single year. The people of the Northwest and Nation deserve restored wild salmon to levels that also restore recreational, commercial, and tribal fisheries. It is caught in the ocean and the lower Columbia River where it mixes with other abundant populations found on the lower Columbia River. Removal of the lower Snake dams will reduce the river barge corridor by 140 miles. People have been fishing for, sustained by, and enjoying salmon for centuries. Their actual yearly output is just over 1,000 average megawatts, or about what a city of size of Seattle or Milwaukee or Denver or Louisville uses. As global warming worsens, the lower Snake Dams will become progressively less reliable as an energy source – especially in summer. The Corps admits that the volume of sediment is too vast for dredging to solve the problem. The dams became operational between 1961 and 1975. The four dams in particular question are Ice Harbor, Little Goose, Lower Granite and Lower Monumental. In fact, they are creating a flood risk. Congress and the Obama Administration have an invaluable role to play – whether it’s passing needed legislation, providing vital funding for salmon restoration, or exercising its oversight responsibilities to ensure that recovery measures are truly working. Replacing the dams’ power with energy efficiency (conservation programs) and truly clean, salmon-safe, renewable energy is estimated to cost between $80 million and $180 million a year – just 2-4 percent of Bonneville Power Administration’s (BPA) $4 billion annual budget. Why should U.S. taxpayers be concerned with salmon restoration in the Columbia and Snake River basin? Further, cost-effective investments in conservation (efficiencies) that can generate an additional 850 average megawatts (enough for a city like Portland OR) are also clearly achievable. In 2002, the General Accountability Office, the investigative arm of Congress, released a report titled, “Columbia River Basin Salmon and Steelhead: Federal Agencies' Recovery Responsibilities, Expenditures and Actions” that stated there is no conclusive evidence that the last two decades of federal salmon recovery actions have succeeded in helping to restore these fish. To date, the federal government has ignored this scientific consensus due not to scientific principles, but rather due to political issues. They have intensively studied the plight of the wild salmon in the last several decades using advanced tagging methods and modeling. In 1855, Natives Peoples of the Northwest signed a treaty with the United States government that ceded most of their lands - lands which currently make up much of Washington, Idaho, and Oregon - in return for the right to have and to fish for salmon and steelhead in their usual and accustomed places. The loss-of-load probability, or LOLP, indicates the likelihood that resources will not be adequate to serve load in the region. Orcas rely on salmon for up to ninety percent their diet, but these fish are in rapid decline. 1. Why Breach? The Pacific Northwest’s official power planning agency, the Northwest Power and Conservation Council, recently prescribed making investments in conservation in order to generate 2,500 average megawatts (more than twice what the 4 lower Snake River dams produce) of “new” energy to help meet rising power needs, and could have called for hundreds more. The four Snake River dams on the lower Snake in southeast Washington were completed in the 1960’s and 1970’s. Are the 4 Lower Snake River dams next? It rejects dam breaching arguing that such a dramatic approach would destabilize the power grid, increase overall greenhouse emissions and more than double the risk of … The answer is simple: The federal government’s salmon plans have failed because they circumvented legal requirements and politicized science. Over the last two decades, federal agencies have spent more than $8 billion in failed attempts to restore Columbia and Snake River salmon. Remove the Dams on the lower Snake River - “It’s not just a biological crisis we’re having out here. Instead or providing more water, more spill over the dams for safe passage, and dam removal, the federal government has relived on old actions – like barging and trucking salmon around the dams and limiting the amount of water in the river – that science has shown over and over again simply do not work. The salmon were, and continue to be, so important to these peoples that their governments were willing to give up the rights they had to large tracks of land in order to ensure that salmon graced the waters of this region forever. If we continue with the status quo, salmon will be driven to extinction and U.S. taxpayers will be left with an enormous price tag. G�PA`7ͨ��̎��T�G��`. Federal agencies have adopted the conclusions of a four-year-long environmental study that rejected calls to tear down the four lower Snake River dams.. Dams – blocking the river’s flow and creating large stagnant reservoirs have especially impacted the salmon’s ability to flourish. 4. 10. In the early days skilled steamboat operators carefully navigated both the Columbia and Lower Snake rivers in order to transport wheat and other goods to Portland. Those populations, like the Snake, also encounter mortality as a result of habitat destruction, harvest, hatcheries, predators and ocean conditions, but they are not imperiled. The four lower Snake River dams can generate enough electricity to power the entire city of Seattle. By investing money to help inefficient processes or machines become more efficient and use less energy, “new” energy becomes available that can then be used by others. If allowed to continue, this would have eventually impacted Snake River populations as well, but fishing was reduced and the resilient salmon rebounded quickly. Together, the four Lower Snake River dams have a “nameplate” (maximum) generating capacity of 3,000 megawatts. Federal taxpayers, through Congressional appropriations, should pay any additional energy costs associated with dam removal. Do these dams provide any flood control? Fishing takes between 0 to 10 percent of any given run. Reality: The four lower Snake River dams are relatively unreliable sources of power compared to some other dams in the federal Columbia River system. 1 0 obj<> endobj 2 0 obj<>stream Scientists predict that the salmon and steelhead of the Snake River that are born at high altitudes where cooler temperatures will persist have the best chance of surviving the current warming trend. X�0����|�d��e��,���B����[M(��������BE�-�n�Mn�酹���Q� Right now, Members of Congress can help by introducing a bill authorizing the partial removal of the four lower Snake River dams, the replacement of the limited services the dams provide, and the protection of communities affected by that action. This is an attainable, cost-effective goal. “Even PacifiCorp now supports dam removal. An independent economic analysis recently rein- … The bottom line: the limited power produced by the four lower Snake River dams can be replaced without adding to our climate pollution, at little or no cost to consumers, and with great benefits to endangered salmon and the communities, businesses, and cultures that rely upon them. Because these dams can’t provide flood control and have virtually no storage capacity, they can reach that maximum for just a few days in any year (during a rapid spring snowmelt for example). Lower Granite Dam with Channel Bypass. California Gov. Due to these minimal overall impacts, scientists have determined that totally eliminating fishing for the renowned Snake River spring/summer chinook and steelhead in particular would provide very little to no benefits and fail to recover these endangered populations. Lewiston community leaders are opposed to raising levees, which will cut the town off further from it’s rivers and disrupt popular bike path and walking paths. No. During the past few decades Inland Northwest local railroads—called short lines—have fallen into disrepair, with serious economic consequences for struggling farm communities, local business owners and manufacturers. 6. Further downstream are Little Goose Dam, Lower Monumental Dam, and Ice Harbor Dam. Investments in a modern rail system and improved highways is not only affordable, it will provide far more benefits to the region’s farmers, businesses and communities that the lower Snake River barge system does. What can Congress do to solve this problem and restore salmon and steelhead to abundance? What impact does fishing have on Columbia and Snake River salmon and steelhead survival? In the latest plan, for example, the federal government treated dams as unchangeable parts of the environment, much like a mountain. Further, Northwest consumers should not bear even this minimal expense alone. Seattle, WA 811 First Ave.,Suite 305Seattle, WA 98104 Phone:  206-300-1003, Spokane, WA P.O. Global warming creates new challenges for recovering salmon and steelhead, and makes the impacts from the lower Snake River dams and their slackwater reservoirs even worse. The Northwest would not be what it is today without hydroelectricity from the region’s dams. This money has been spent on ridiculous schemes such as loading salmon into trucks and driving them around the dams, all the while ignoring cost-effective solutions for recovery like partial removal of the lower Snake River dams. 1. Here’s how: The low-cost estimate ($80 million, see Question 2 above) for replacing the four lower Snake River dams’ power is based on creating 90 percent of this new energy through investments in conservation (efficiency) and 10 percent from new, truly clean, salmon-safe renewable energy like wind or biomass. 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