Meetings on Lower Snake Dams available via teleconference

In Idaho, Oregon, Snake River, Washington by Kyle Smith

Jerry Myers on the Middle Fork Salmon River. Middle Fork steelhead must navigate the lower four Snake River dams to return home to spawn.

If you are interested in weighing in on the recently released draft environmental impact statement regarding the Lower Snake and Columbia River dams, you can do so via telephone:

Days: March 18, 19, 25, 26, 31
Times: 4 p.m. to 8 p.m. PT
Toll-free: 844-721-7241
International: 409-207-6955
Access Code: 5998146#

You may also provide comments online by April 13. Trout Unlimited will provide more information on that in the coming days.

For anyone attending teleconferences, here are a few points to consider as you craft your comments:

  • The science consistently supports removal of the four Lower Snake River dams to recover robust and fishable populations of salmon and steelhead to Idaho. According to the science, no other singular action can recover significant populations at the rate and in the time needed to avoid extinction. 
  • The DEIS preferred alternative does not even provide reasonable assurance that it will avoid extinction, let alone recover Snake River salmon and steelhead to abundant, harvestable levels.  There is a good chance it will not meet the requirements of the Endangered Species Act and will likely land everyone back in court starting yet another cycle of expensive litigation that keeps the region mired in uncertainty.   
  • There is a much better way to solve the problem. With political leadership, we can collaboratively develop a package of investments and actions that recover Snake River fish to abundant, sustainable, and harvestable levels while also meeting the region’s energy, water and transportation needs.   
  • Developing such a solution package requires more tools than the federal dam management agencies have in their toolkits.  We need to stop asking the federal agencies to solve a problem that is beyond their ability to solve.  
  • We are running out of time if we want populations of these iconic fish to persist for future generations. It is time for all stakeholders and elected officials to come to the table to build forward looking and durable solutions that will create opportunity across the Pacific Northwest and address challenges faced by other sectors such as agriculture, transportation and energy. 
  • The Snake River Basin presents the greatest potential for wild fish recovery of any watershed in the Columbia Basin. Mile-for-mile it has the coldest, most undisturbed stream habitat on the West Coast and is predicted to contain the majority of coldwater habitat as climates change. 
  • Dam removal has been a tested and proven method to restore fish populations across the U.S. While this might have been a radical idea at a point in our history, it is not any longer and its power to restore rivers is evident from Maine to the Olympic Peninsula of Washington State.