PNWA PRESS RELEASE: Outsider money funds ads targeting Northwest infrastructure

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April 27, 2015, Pacific Northwest Waterways Association – 

Over the weekend a full page ad ran in the Spokesman-Review, funded by the California-based sportswear company, Patagonia.  The ad called for the removal of the four “deadbeat” Snake River Dams and claimed removing the dams would benefit jobs, energy, recreation, and salmon.  The ad further alleges that there are “lower-impact” alternatives to the dams that will create “thousands of jobs” and “invest in cleaner” energy.

PNWA is proud of the opportunity to highlight these state-of-art structures.  Far from being “dead-beat”, the Snake River dams are the newest and most modern dams on the Columbia Snake River System, and deliver considerable navigation, energy, recreation, and fish and wildlife conservation benefits to the entire region.  Large scale improvements have been made to both the downstream and upstream fish passage facilities.  As a result, juvenile salmon and steelhead survival rates past the dams are higher than since before some of the Snake River dams were built.

Collaboration between ratepayers, navigation users, farmers, tribes, states and federal agencies has resulted in a river that is producing increasing adult returns. Spill rates over the dams is optimized for fish migration and a new generation of turbines are being installed that improve both fish survival and power generation. Because of these improvements, we have seen record-breaking salmon return numbers past all 8 of the dams on the Columbia Snake River System over the past 20 years.

The Snake River dams are a key link for our Northwest farmers who are competing in challenging overseas markets.  Barging is the most economical and efficient way to move grain products to export.  The Snake River dams are a big part of Columbia River’s position as the number one wheat export gateway in the entire country.

PNWA is proud to highlight these dams that do so much for our region’s economy and ecosystem.  Facts, not rhetoric, show that salmon, clean energy, and efficient cargo transportation can co-exist.  To learn more about the many benefits of the dams, visit and show your support by signing our letter on behalf of these key pieces of the Northwest economy.

For more on the Pacific Northwest Waterways Association, visit