The four lower Snake River dams can generate enough electricity to power the entire city of Seattle. While Snake River dam removal would not completely solve the tribal treaty right issues to date, this action would go a long way in helping to restore Snake River salmon to levels necessary to meeting treaty right obligations. They are “run of the river” dams with very little storage capacity and are thus almost totally dependent on the amount of snowpack and rate of runoff. Can we replace the dams’ power with clean energy? 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. 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. 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. The four dams in particular question are Ice Harbor, Little Goose, Lower Granite and Lower Monumental. The four Snake River dams on the lower Snake in southeast Washington were completed in the 1960’s and 1970’s. How much energy do these four dams produce? 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. Lower Snake River Dams Stakeholder Engagement Final Report — March 2020 3 Major Findings and Perspectives The report focuses on six major topics: (1) salmon and Southern Resident orcas, (2) energy, (3) agriculture, (4) transportation, (5) recreation, (6) and economics. What can Congress and the President do to solve this problem and restore salmon and steelhead to abundance? No. The four Lower Snake dams were the last built in the federal Columbia hydropower system. 8 . 3. Why should U.S. taxpayers be concerned with salmon restoration in the Columbia and Snake River basin? A key benefit for Snake River populations is the amount of high quality habitat they have that is not found in the other Columbia basins. 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. Substantial amounts of relatively inexpensive geothermal power are also available in Idaho, Utah and most likely in southern Oregon. In winter and late summer, when electricity is most needed and most valuable, these four dams are able to generate less than half that average because there is very little water available to spin turbines. The four lower Snake River dams are Ice Harbor, Lower Monumental, Little Goose, and Lower Granite. 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. Our communities and future generations need and deserve both. The shallow, slow-running river will become even warmer, further threatening salmon survival throughout the region. Prior to 1975, when the last of the four dams was built, goods traveled by railroad to Pasco, WA for barge loading or were railed and trucked to the West Coast. Since 1975 when the eight dams (four on the lower Columbia River and four on the lower Snake River) were completed, return rates have only rarely exceeded the 2 percent survival minimum. Fewer goods, mostly fertilizer and fuel, travel upriver. They have intensively studied the plight of the wild salmon in the last several decades using advanced tagging methods and modeling. 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%. Although this study demonstrates … Further downstream are Little Goose Dam, Lower Monumental Dam, and Ice Harbor Dam. 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 ! Compelling evidence proves dams kill salmon. Reality: The four lower Snake River dams are relatively unreliable sources of power compared to some other dams in the federal Columbia River system. Snake River fall Chinook is the one exception. As global warming worsens, the lower Snake Dams will become progressively less reliable as an energy source – especially in summer. Raising levees, dredging, and other measures will cost millions of dollars over the long term and pose threats to fish, wildlife and recreation opportunities. 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. 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. Fishery scientists have monitored Snake River wild salmon population declines since the 1950s. Lower Granite Dam with Channel Bypass. 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. 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. The four lower Snake River dams can operate above their rated capacity to produce up to 3,483 MW for several hours. They cited modeling by the Environmental Protection Agency that shows that removing the four lower Snake River dams would reduce Snake River water temperatures by 6.3 degrees F, on average, during the summer and early fall. 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. 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. 5. Each year more than $550 million in funding, more than twice that of even Everglades restoration, goes to NOAA Fisheries, the Army Corps of Engineers and other federal agencies for this effort. 5. 8. Naturally occurring sediment coming down the Snake River, is piling up behind Lower Granite dam and raising the level of the river. It is caught in the ocean and the lower Columbia River where it mixes with other abundant populations found on the lower Columbia River. The stakes are high as the region considers the best options for dam operations. Lower Granite Dam is located approximately 40-miles downstream of Lewiston, Idaho. It is a false choice. Europeans were farming wheat along the Lower Snake as early as the late 1800’s. The model demonstrated that the four lower Snake River dams were the most significant factor preventing recovery. The four dams on the lower Snake River are part of a vast and complex hydroelectric power system operated by the federal government in Washington, Oregon, Idaho and Montana. Wheat, barley and other crops are destined for Portland, OR and then exported overseas. As noted in Question #2, Congress should provide much, if not all, of the funding needed to keep energy costs affordable for Northwest consumers. Thirteen species of salmon and steelhead are listed for protection under the federal Endangered Species Act and many more have already been lost from this planet, many of which were extremely important to tribal cultures. 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. The only option the Corps is not studying is removal of the four 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. 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. In fact, they are creating a flood risk. Not all crops can travel by barge, and the barge system can’t send goods to important markets in the Puget Sound, or north, south or points farther east—it only goes between Portland and Lewiston Idaho. The federal government wants to keep the Four Lower Snake River Dams in place. Federal agencies that manage the dams released their Columbia River System Operations Draft Environmental Impact Statement Friday morning. Lower Granite Dam, one of the four dams on the Lower Snake River that are driving all remaining Snake River salmon toward extinction. 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. The lower Snake River dams produce roughly 1,100 average megawatts of carbon-free electricity compared to the Klamath River dam’s 78 average megawatts. 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. ���.Ӭ#�+�jC�U�a-���i7?�B�0l�A�vձ�? If the dams are removed, how will farmers who use these dams’ reservoirs to ship in crops in barges deliver their products to market? H��WI�l� ��)� �EM$O`��W�lxU� ��W^��M2(��gë����8��]K=�{���P���t�y��_���_t��x y�y�c�?6o�~|�fy�FwBZ�Ĥ7�E�2�aS�F���M��]�w��]�C�8^g���M��?����o)r��n�t�S�N�����[�� �Ȝ����Sj���z�zW��P�����R( �����VN�[Ap��a6�k�\ qJ�\6���K���B��Õ5D�5 ����B�����w��� ��p�b����~=���5�M��Y�V��Q�$"^�<09Sgw�P�Ǥ�O���[Hp3w��g���B� N'1GDG�[��64���xedBqz�K@�8^ People have been fishing for, sustained by, and enjoying salmon for centuries. The Lower Snake River Project's four dams and navigation locks have transformed this part of the Snake River into a series of reservoirs. 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. 1. system adequacy were based on annual and monthly —metricsa conservative approach that ensured a “like-for-like” replacement of the LSR Dams. How to Breach the 4 Lower Snake River Dams with a Pile of Policy Papers and Two D-8’s •Prepared by Jim Waddell Civil Engineer, PE USACE Retired + = Rev: Feb 2018. G�PA`7ͨ��̎��T�G��`. They also submerged 63 rapids big enough to have earned themselves names and increased the mortality of … ?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 A federal court called the plan “little more than a slight of hand” and stated that the “ESA requires a more realistic, common sense examination.”. Lower Granite is now 55 percent full of sediment and the river level has now risen higher than downtown! The dams, for example, kill between 40 and 92 percent of the migrating Snake River salmon and steelhead. 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. The study also offers a framework from which the federal agencies can draw as they develop a new plan for dam operations. The Lower Snake River Project features four locks and dams in the state of Washington: Ice Harbor Dam, Lower Monumental Dam, Little Goose Dam, and Lower Granite Dam. How does global warming affect Columbia-Snake River salmon and steelhead survival? How much will it cost to replace that power? Box 67Spokane, WA 99210 Phone:  509-747-2030. Additionally, the federal government has ignored sound science. Together, the four Lower Snake River dams have a “nameplate” (maximum) generating capacity of 3,000 megawatts. Further, Northwest consumers should not bear even this minimal expense alone. 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. 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. More recent studies also show that populations of other Columbia Basin salmon that migrate through four or less dams and reservoirs, such as those from the Yakima and John Day rivers are performing significantly better than those from the Snake river. 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. Wild salmon and steelhead in the Columbia and Snake Rivers are an important part of the Pacific Northwest’s history and heritage, and economy and culture. A dam removal plan can—and must—include funds for a modern transportation system that will provide farmers better access to more diverse markets, as well as benefit many other businesses from Spokane to rural communities on eastern Washington’s Palouse. 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. 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. The role that dams and reservoirs, habitat, hatcheries, harvest, predators and the ocean play in salmon survival is well understood. 9. 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. Fishing takes between 0 to 10 percent of any given run. If allowed to continue, this would have eventually impacted Snake River populations as well, but fishing was reduced and the resilient salmon rebounded quickly. Why have the federal government’s salmon recovery efforts failed, despite more than $8 billion spent? Water levels in the reservoirs can only be increased a few feet. 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 higher power replacement cost estimates are based on greater percentages of renewable energy. The draft EIS identifies and evaluates a no-action alternative and five alternatives, one of which includes breaching the four lower Snake River dams. And it would devastate fishing communities from California to Alaska and into Idaho. Removal of the lower Snake dams will reduce the river barge corridor by 140 miles. 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. The Endangered Species Act lays out certain basic principles and requirements to ensure that we do not inadvertently allow species to go extinct. X�0����|�d��e��,���B����[M(��������BE�-�n�Mn�酹���Q� Each section provides a summary of the topic context and presents the perspectives of those who support the … Seattle, WA 811 First Ave.,Suite 305Seattle, WA 98104 Phone:  206-300-1003, Spokane, WA P.O. 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. 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. 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). Initial studies conclude that the economic benefits of salmon and steelhead recovery exceed the costs to replace the dams’ seasonally-limited power. %PDF-1.4 %���� How does lower Snake River dam removal affect tribal treaty fishing rights? 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. Are the 4 Lower Snake River dams next? An independent economic analysis recently rein- … Why do scientists support partial removal of the 4 lower Snake River dams? We can retire the dams and keep the lights on. 1. Congress and Bonneville to decide fate of lower Snake River dams. 6. Prior to the dam building era that began in the early 1900s, salmon were commercially caught at high rates in the Columbia River. Arnold Schwarzenegger’s popular and successful “Million Solar Roofs” program could be instituted in the Pacific Northwest as well. Each year, 3 million cubic yards of sediment enters the reservoir, raising the water level and increasing risk of flood. The difference lies in the number of mainstem dams they encounter. Advocates hope to have the dams out by 2024 . 11. 7. The Corps admits that the volume of sediment is too vast for dredging to solve the problem. 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. In the latest plan, for example, the federal government treated dams as unchangeable parts of the environment, much like a mountain. Download the PDF on fishing and salmon numbers. California Gov. 4. Already we see the effects of climate change reducing the mountain snowpack on which Northwest hydropower production depends. An extensive modeling effort completed in 2000 analyzed of the causes of mortality for Snake River salmon. The new analysis results in an economic loss from breaching the four lower Snake River dams of $1.5 billion to $3.8 billion over 10 years. 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 loss-of-load probability, or LOLP, indicates the likelihood that resources will not be adequate to serve load in the region. Currently, wheat, barley and other goods are barged down river from Lewiston, ID and a couple other ports on the lower Snake River. As habitat destruction and dam construction has increased in the Columbia Basin, populations have declined and fishing opportunities been severely restricted. 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. Americans are ready for effective solutions to one of the toughest natural resources challenges of our day. Federal taxpayers, through Congressional appropriations, should pay any additional energy costs associated with dam removal. To date, the federal government has ignored this scientific consensus due not to scientific principles, but rather due to political issues. Why Breach? 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. Monumental, Little Goose, lower Granite and lower Granite dam, one of the Snake River have. 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