Snake river dam removal agreement

rogerdodger
rogerdodger
Link below covers well the recent agreement between 4 tribes, 3 states, and the Biden administration that (finally) puts us on the path to removing the lower 4 dams on the Snake River. Bottom line: this is happening, it's going to take some time, and it's great news for NW salmon and steelhead.

The lower 4 Snake river dams were built primarily to allow barge traffic deeper into an important agricultural area, producing electricity was a secondary thing. These dams restrict the movement of anadromous fish to 55% of the habitat for the entire Columbia river system!

The agreement is based on replacing the benefits of the dams first, then breaching them, and then rebuilding the land uncovered.

The 4 dams combined produce average electricity of 1000MW (for comparison, Grand Coulee dam produces 2,400MW by itself). The plan is to replace the dams electricity with 1000 to 3000MW of solar/wind and to locate that production so it efficiently feeds into the existing grid.

I'm guessing Pasco will become the key barge port for agricultural stuff that previously came down the Snake, so I'm guessing train and truck transport to the Tri-Cities area will be enhanced to get the food there.

Very encouraging is that several parties with lawsuits pending have signed on to the agreement and are putting their lawsuits on hold.

Near the end of this article are links to the actual agreement:

https://pv-magazine-usa.com/2024/01...ables-to-help-retire-dams-and-restore-salmon/
 
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troutdude
troutdude
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climbguy
My grandfather had a farm in Dayton WA. My dad was telling me, some years back, about the time before the dams went in. The railroads had a monopoly on transportation and they would not only charge exorbitant rates but favor some farmers over others. When the dams went in, farmers started shipping all their grain by barge instead of rail. It was, and still is, the cheapest way to get the grain to market. The railroads companies ended up tearing up or abandoning all the old service lines.

We now have roads and a trucking industry but neither rail nor road is even close to as efficient or cost effective as shipping by barge. Some quick googling. A truck can't carry even close to what a train can carry and a train would take approximately 225 cars to haul what a single barge can haul. A grain train is typically 102 cars. Fuel wise a train is about 30% less efficient than a barge.
This is probably the primary reason why so many people are rightfully resisting the dam removal.

I recall reading an article quite some time ago that the lower four dams aren't the biggest contributor to fish loss. At least they have fish ladders. The big problem is the couple or so private dams upstream that don't have any kind of fish passage and completely block access to a massive portion of the upper snake.

Maybe removing the dams will end up being a boon for the salmon. I hope so. But it does come at a significant cost to those who live upstream.
 
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Flyfisheress
Flyfisheress
Better remove those private dams too or else this is all climate change BS.
 
Flyfisheress
Flyfisheress
Here is the harsh math - both southern orcas and sea lions eat chinook salmon. The salmon population is down to only 7% of what it was 200 years ago. Meanwhile the Calif sea lion population has grown from 50,000 in 1975 to 300,000 in Wash/Or/Calif waters today. This is a protected species. They are growing at 9% per year, so the population doubles every 8 years . Half ton male California sea lions pile up at river outlets and below dams and take a bite out of every hen salmon they catch to get the fatty roe, then bite another then another. We can breach all the dams on the Snake and Columbia, and ban all human fishing, and ban all vessels and sonar, but the sea lions will eat every last salmon - unless we kill massive numbers of sea lions to radically reduce their population. Sorry to the 8th graders at Sunnyside Elementary - unless we go for mass genocide on the seals and sea lions, the salmon and the southern orcas are doomed.
 
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