Letters to the Editor

Finally! We can help salmon and Orca recovery

Saving our dwindling salmon and Orca populations seemed like a hopeless dream — until now.

Salmon and the Orcas that feed on them depend on the Columbia and Snake river “salmon highway” in order to survive. Washington’s fishing, sport and tourism industries depend on these species too.

Scientists recommend that we remove four Lower Snake River dams (Ice Harbor, Lower Monumental, Little Goose and Lower Granite) as the most effective means to prevent salmon and Orca extinction.

Power providers maintain that such removal will sacrifice energy reliability and affordability unless the dams are replaced with gas-fired generation.

However, the NW Energy Coalition commissioned Energy Strategies (they work with power companies and governments across North America) to conduct a study to determine viable options. The study shows that if we remove the dams and replace their power with conservation practices and renewable energy, we can maintain power reliability for a cost increase of 4 to 5 cents a day. Furthermore, the study projects greenhouse gas emissions would either decrease or increase less than 1 percent, see: nwenergy.org/lsrdstudy.

Now that we have this good news, what can we do to help? Contact the below-referenced agencies. Ask them to build on the study’s findings and explore the cost of dam decommissioning, together with savings from avoided dam rehabilitation and elimination of ineffective fish restoration programs.

Write: NOAA Fisheries, 7600 Sand Point Way NE, Seattle, WA 98115; U.S. Army Corps of Engineers, PO Box 2870, Portland, OR 97208-2870; Bonneville Power Administration at bpa.gov/PublicInvolvement/Comments/Pages/default.aspx.