Dam Breaching

PNWA strongly supports the preservation of dams on the Columbia and Snake Rivers. PNWA opposes any dam breaching or drawdown that would disrupt the economy and other benefits associated with the Congressionally authorized multiple-purpose projects. The costs of breaching are high, while the benefits, if any, are questionable. Partial removal of the dams is estimated to cost at least $1 billion and would disrupt activity in the river for years.

Breaching would end hydropower production, barge transportation to inland ports such as Lewiston, Idaho that are heavily used by farmers to ship their crops to Portland and overseas, and irrigation of some farms along the lower Snake and Columbia Rivers.

Fish survival at the dams has been improved dramatically, such that survival today is as high as it was prior to building the Snake River dams. While we continue to improve fish passage, other stages of the salmon life cycle have greater impact on survival that the dams. That is why PNWA supports an “All-H” approach to recovery, including harvest, hatcheries and habitat in addition to the hydro system.

Why this matters to you: Dam breaching is extreme and risky. Many tens of thousands of jobs along the rivers would be affected. Communities and business that depend on navigation and irrigated agriculture could be decimated. Hydropower operations would cease and Bonneville ratepayer funds would not be available for fish recovery programs. Over $700 million annually is being invested by regional electric consumers in fish recovery efforts through Bonneville Power Administration programs and changes to hydro-system operations. And, most importantly, there is no guarantee that dam breaching will help rebuild fish runs.


Supporting Materials

Juvenile Fish Survival Improvements
Salmon Planning Act
Dam Breaching is not the answer