Breach the dams

... Please breach the four lower Snake River dams for the survival of chinook salmon and steelhead spawning in the Salmon River before they are all gone.

Did you know in the Columbia River Basin, historically, 45 percent of all spring and summer run chinook salmon along with steelhead spawned in the Salmon River? That’s literally millions of fish. ...

The Salmon River runs free for 425 miles from its headwaters near Galena Summit to the confluence with the Snake River and encompasses the Frank Church Wilderness of No Return, more than 6 millions acres of federally protected prime salmon and steelhead spawning habitat. We need to reconnect the lower Snake River as a free-flowing river from Lewiston to Pasco so these iconic species can connect with their spawning grounds. ...

Let’s find solutions together to solve and re-invent transportation needs, alternative reliable power generation, irrigation goals and flood measures. Decommission these obsolete four federal dams, redirect federal funds from the Bonneville Power Administration to local farmers directly, develop new agricultural transportation technologies including railroad transportation and infrastructure development.

Continue investing in southeastern Washington’s resources of wind and solar energy. ...

We can have our cake and eat it, too. ...

We are the people of the Pacific Northwest and have a stewardship toward our environment, especially the rivers and the salmon and steelhead that spawn in them. We are resilient, tough, innovative, compassionate and ready for whatever is coming at us. We can do this together.

John Kendall


Distorting Simpson’s plan

The facts have been distorted in response to Rep. Mike Simpson’s Northwest in transition concept, which would invest $33.5 billion into the Northwest’s energy, transportation, agricultural and recreational infrastructure. The proposal includes funds to breach the earthen berms of the four lower Snake River dams to restore a free-flowing river and Idaho’s wild salmon and steelhead.

Some members of Congress and industry reps are simply misinformed about these four dams in eastern Washington.

Flood control: The four lower Snake River dams are “run-of-river” structures — they do not store significant amounts of water so they provide negligible flood control for downstream communities.

Irrigation: Irrigators who use lower Snake River water are concentrated along the Ice Harbor Dam reservoir, near the Snake’s confluence with the Columbia River. Within this small area, the government has already concluded that existing irrigation can be modified to function in a restored river. Rep. Simpson’s proposal would invest nearly $1 billion for this purpose, far more than is likely required.

The $33.5 billion price tag: That’s no different than our current situation. Since 1978, the region’s electricity users have spent nearly $18 billion on fish and wildlife programs, steadily increasing the price of power. At the current pace, Northwest residents will spend more than $30 billion during the next 20 years, without improving conditions for salmon and steelhead.

Now is the time for immediate, bold action to change direction and chart a new path for the Northwest.

Mitch Cutter