Your Way of Recreating is Threatened

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Wouldn't it be tragic if our way of getting-away-from-it-all should disappear?

Breaching advocates are commenting to the Federal Agencies that people in the Lewis Clark Valley will be better off recreationally if dams are breached. Breaching will remove our reservoir at the confluence of the Clearwater and Snake Rivers, dropping water levels drastically.

What is Happening That is Cause for Concern?

The federal agencies that operate the system of 14 Columbia and Snake rivers dams are evaluating options for managing that system. They are trying to minimize impacts on salmon and other species while still meeting the dams’ many authorized purposes. The agencies released their evaluation of management alternatives in a draft environmental impact statement.

The federal agencies were directed by the courts to include breaching the four Lower Snake River dams in the range of alternatives. Lower Granite Dam, which creates the reservoir in Lewiston and Clarkston, is one of those four. People boat, fish, water ski, jet ski, kayak, paddleboard, swim, and more on this reservoir, and our greenbelt and many of our parks rely on it. Our daily recreational activities would be profoundly impacted if the dam was removed.

The federal agencies’ preferred alternative does not include breaching any dams. The agencies instead combined a number of alternatives to allow hydropower and navigation to continue while being sensitive to fish and wildlife needs.

A small but vocal minority have disproportionately addressed the non-breaching conclusion of the preferred alternative over other points of discussion, with many voices advocating for re-examining that conclusion and preferring a breaching alternative in the final EIS.


How Can I Make a Difference?

Your help is needed. Because of where you live, you are able to raise unique issues that are important for the agencies to consider. This is your opportunity to share your personal values, and it’s important that you do so.

You make a difference through direct comments to the agencies, talking with others who share your views, writing your U.S. Congressperson, and writing letters to the editor at the Lewiston Tribune. Details about each of those options are below.

Public comments are not votes, and environmental impact statements are not a democratic process where the most votes win. However, without support, good draft decisions run the risk of being revised.


1. Comment on the Columbia River System Operations Draft Environmental Impact Statement to share your perspective with the federal agencies that operate the river system. Submit comments online, via mail, or in-person delivery.

2. Connect with other people and organizations who share your views

3. Write your U.S. Congressperson to encourage them to advocate for a strong balanced system to support our communities and state.

4. Write letters to the editor in your local newspaper and share your perspective with others who may be less informed


Facts You Can Use

  • In 2018 Columbia/Snake River cruise boat passenger numbers exceeded numbers of cruise boat passengers on the Mississippi River, and continue to be higher since then.
  • Mild climate within the Clearwater/Snake rivers confluence allow for pleasure boating during the months of March through December, while fishing is year round. Land-based recreation cannot take the place of reservoir recreation especially in hot summer months.
  • The draft EIS counts only VISITOR spending when coming up with economic values for recreation. The draft does not calculate the value for our choice to live where we play.
  • The Corps of Engineers is responsible for 26 recreational amenities assigned to the reservoir behind Lower Granite Dam. Under MO3, many will be of little value such as marinas and boat ramps that exist where there will be no water.
  • In 2018, the Corps estimated visits at the main points of access for the 26 recreational amenities on Lower Granite pool at 1.72 million. This underestimates the number of times the local recreationists enjoy these amenities.
  • The Clearwater & Snake River National Recreation Trail has over 26 miles of wheelchair accessible trail along the rivers used for walking, running, and dog walking by residents and visitors. The Trail also is utilized for organized fun runs and track meets bringing thousands to our region.

Would You Like To See It Change?

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We live, work, and play where the Clearwater River meets the Snake. There are threats to our way of life on that reservoir. Your help is needed to preserve what we value.

Your comments are needed on or before April 13, 2020