Energy & Salmon

Northwest ports and navigation interests have always strongly supported salmon recovery efforts that preserve the multiple uses of the river system. PNWA strives for a vibrant regional economy. We support the Federal Columbia River Power System and a fully functioning Columbia/Snake Rivers navigation system. We also strive for a healthy environment, working in support of ecosystem restoration and the development of alternative fuel sources.

PNWA , like most in the scientific community, believes that salmon runs have been affected by a variety of factors. A commitment to improving all four of the “H’s” of salmon recovery – hydro, habitat, harvest, and hatcheries – is necessary for listed species to recover. Extreme measures like dam breaching have been studied and rejected numerous times over the last twenty years. 

Columbia River System Operations Environmental Impact Statement

As mentioned below, the Court is requiring federal agencies to explore a range of reasonable alternatives for long-term system operations and evaluate the potential environmental and socioeconomic impacts on flood risk management, irrigation, power generation, navigation, fish and wildlife, cultural resources and recreation. The agencies are on track to complete the Environmental Impact Statement and Record of Decision by September 30, 2020. Information about this effort can be found at

PNWA is supporting the work of our federal partners as they update the scientific analysis and deliver a new plan to the Court. We have commissioned an analysis of the economic and environmental impacts of breaching the lower Snake River dams to assist the federal agencies in their development and evaluation of alternatives.

Summary of Findings
Full Report

PNWA’s comments on the draft environmental impact statement

PNWA’s Columbia River System Operations Environmental Impact Statemen fact sheet

Federal Columbia River Power System Biological Opinion

NOAA Fisheries released the Supplemental FCRPS BiOp in January 2014. The 2014 BiOp was the product of the best available science, as well as significant collaboration between the federal agencies, four states and sovereign Northwest tribes.

The 2014 BiOp had unprecedented support in the region, was deemed scientifically sound by the Obama Administration, and helped produce record fish runs. The dramatic increase in fish returns over the last ten years demonstrates the success of regional investments in fish passage, habitat, and other river improvements.

In June 2014, Earthjustice once again filed a complaint challenging the BiOp. The Court heard oral arguments in 2015. In 2016, Judge Michael Simon left the 2014 BiOp in place, but found the federal agencies must produce an updated environmental impact statement and deliver a new BiOp by September 2021.

PNWA comments on Draft Supplemental Biological Opinion
PNWA comments on Draft 2014-2018 BiOp Implementation Plan
PNWA comments on FCRPS draft comprehensive evaluation
Oregonian Editorial: Northwest should find hope, encouragement, in a stronger decade of Columbia fish returns


Hydropower is clean, efficient and economical. Hydropower produces no greenhouse gasses, does not contribute to climate change, and is necessary for integrating wind and solar power into the regional energy portfolio.

Hydropower Fact Sheet
Benefits of Snake River Dams
BPA Fact Sheet on the Snake River Dams
U.S Army Corps of Engineers methane and dams fact sheet
NOAA Fisheries Report on Southern Residents