Federal, Tribal and independent scientists concluded years ago that removing the four deadbeat dams on the lower Snake River is the single most effective action we can take to restore wild salmon to this river basin.
Wild salmon, steelhead, and lamprey are dying by the thousands due to these dams: Ice Harbor, Lower Monumental, Little Goose, and Lower Granite – putting other species, jobs, unique cultures, and ways of life at risk.
American taxpayers and regional consumers—you and me—lose millions of dollars each year operating these dams even though they produce just 3 percent of the region’s power. The electricity the dams produce can be replaced by affordable, carbon-free energy alternatives. The dams’ other primary purpose, barge transportation, has declined 70 percent in 20 years. What little demand remains for barging can be replaced by rail or other options.
Further, the dams exacerbate the effects of climate change on salmon, trapping fish in slack-water reservoirs that overheat and contribute to disease, mortality, and predation. Removing these four dams would re-open a pathway for salmon to more than 5,000 miles of pristine cold-water streams in the wilderness of central Idaho, eastern Oregon, and eastern Washington—building resilience for healthier watersheds and stronger wild fish populations.
Salmon support a unique Northwest way of life. They are a keystone species that help keep the natural world healthy by bringing nutrients from the ocean back to high mountain streams. They support jobs and cultures. They are a critical food source for more than 100 other species, including endangered Orcas.
Now is the time to remove the four outdated, low-value, deadbeat dams on the lower Snake River. If we #FreetheSnake, we can work together to solve the root causes of salmon decline, instead of trying to mitigate for theses dams' impacts to wild, native fish. This can be done while restoring jobs, and undertaking the biggest river restoration in history.