Oct. 1, 2015
Contact: Terry Flores (503) 367-9997
Dams and Salmon Co-Existing: Fall Chinook on Track for Another Record Year
The latest predictions for fall Chinook salmon call for a third consecutive year of record adult returns. Federal, state, and tribal representatives anticipate more than a million adult fish will return to the Columbia River basin this fall.1
Sockeye runs suffered this summer due to low river flows and unusually high river temperatures. But Chinook numbers, including on the Snake River, are strong.
A large run of 58,200 fall Chinook are expected to pass Lower Granite Dam, the uppermost of four federal hydropower dams on the Snake River. The Snake River dams produce enough energy to power a city about the size of Seattle, while providing crucial irrigation, barging and shipping to Southeastern Washington.
“A majority of Northwest residents (70 percent)2 agree that dams and salmon should co-exist, as they are doing on the Snake River,” said Terry Flores, executive director of Northwest RiverPartners. “These dams put food on our tables, provide clean energy for homes and businesses, and help keep our skies clean, while ensuring safe passage for salmon. It makes no sense to suggest removing them, given these enormous environmental and economic benefits.”
The predicted fall Chinook run would be the second-largest return to Lower Granite since the dam was built nearly 40 years ago. By year’s end, more Chinook will have passed the Snake River dams in the past four years than in the previous 37 years combined, according to a Columbia River Inter-tribal Fish Commission spokesman.3
Facts about the Snake River Dams
Reliable, Renewable Energy:
– It would take two nuclear, three coal-fired or six gas-fired power plants to produce the average annual power produced by the Snake River dams. (Corps of Engineers)
– The renewable energy produced by the dams cannot and is not being replaced by wind and solar, which operate intermittently; hydropower is what backs up these renewables and allows them to be integrated into the power grid.
– Removing the Snake River dams would add between 3 and 4.5 million metric tons of CO2 to Northwest skies each year. (Northwest Power and Conservation Council Sixth Power Plan)
– Salmon abundance overall has steadily improved for over a decade, due to habitat and dam improvements and, in particular, good ocean conditions.
– The Snake River dams are equipped with ladders for returning adults and do not block the fish as they swim upriver.
– For juvenile salmon on their way to the ocean, state-of-the-art technologies allow most fish to safely migrate past each dam. Yearling Chinook survival at the Snake River dams:4
o Ice Harbor: 96.1 %
o Lower Granite: 97.5%
o Lower Monumental: 98.7%
o Little Goose: 98.2%
– Barging and shipping are a key part of the Northwest economy, now and for the future.
– About 3.5 million tons of cargo valued at $1.5 billion pass through the Snake River dams each year, providing food and products around the world.5
– The Columbia-Snake River System is the nation’s top wheat export gateway. In 2012, nearly 10 percent of all U.S. wheat exports moved through the Snake River dams. (Pacific Northwest Waterways Association)
For further information or media interviews:
Terry Flores, Northwest RiverPartners: cell (503) 367-9997; [email protected]
Kristin Meira, Pacific Northwest Waterways Association, cell 503-757-8716; [email protected]
Snake River Dams: http://nwriverpartners.org/value-of-snake-river-dams or http://www.snakeriverdams.com/
Northwest RiverPartners is an alliance of farmers, utilities, ports and businesses that promote the economic and environmental benefits of the Columbia and Snake Rivers and salmon recovery policies based on sound science.
1 Columbia Basin Bulletin. Sept. 18, 2015. “New Columbia River Fall Chinook Forecast: Over 1 Million Fish, Second Largest Upriver Bright Return.” https://www.cbbulletin.com/435019.aspp
2 DHM Research public opinion poll. Feb. 2015.
3 Clearing Up. Sept. 25, 2015. No. 1716. Pg. 3. “Columbia River Fall Chinook Once Again Wow.” http://www.newsdata.com/cu/thisweek.html
5 Tri-City Herald. Sept. 29, 2015. “Lower Snake River dams provide outstanding value to the nation.” http://www.tri-cityherald.com/opinion/opn-columns-blogs/article36709746.html#storylink=cpy[/vc_column_text][vc_btn title=”Download press release” link=”url:http%3A%2F%2Fportoflewiston.com%2Fwp-content%2Fuploads%2F2015%2F10%2FDamsXSalmonXSnake_FallXChinookXforecastXOctX2015.pdf||”][/vc_column][/vc_row]