Protect the Values of our River System

The Columbia-Snake River System is the federal system of locks and dams that powers our homes, feeds our families, and shapes our lives. It’s what makes our region strong and balanced—and we all must protect it.

We all benefit from a river system that:

  • Waters our farms
  • Ships our goods
  • Generates our low-carbon power
  • Supports our economies

Our progressive balance of environment and economy hangs in the balance as federal agencies prepare a new plan for operating the river system. We need all voices to be heard so decisionmakers understand your perspective on fish passage, shipping, power, irrigation, and more.

Columbia-Snake River System 2020

The Columbia-Snake River System has powered the Pacific Northwest for generations. From fish to farms and energy to shipping, our river system is the foundation of life today and for the future.

Posted by Pacific Northwest Waterways Association (PNWA) on Friday, April 3, 2020

Join the thousands of people and organizations in our region who believe we can have a working river system that allows all uses to thrive.

  1. Visit the Columbia River System Operations page to learn about the Draft Environmental Impact Statement, follow the process, sign up for email updates, and more.

  2. Connect with other people and organizations who share your views

  3. Write your U.S. Congressperson to encourage them to advocate for a strong, balanced system to support our communities and state

  4. Write letters to the editor in your local newspaper and share your perspective with others who may be less informed

Keep our Waterways Strong and Balanced

Dam-breaching advocates posit that breaching the four Lower Snake River dams would address salmon recovery. This approach does not acknowledge the complexity of the environmental and social challenges facing our region today. The Pacific Northwest continues to show the world that we can have a healthy economy and environment through good management practices and reinvestment in our natural resources.

Championing our Waterways for Future Generations

The Pacific Northwest Waterways Association is a non-profit collaboration of ports, businesses, public agencies and individuals who combine their economic and political strength in support of navigation, energy, trade and economic development throughout the Pacific Northwest.

For 85 years PNWA has been at the leading edge of efforts to ensure that our waterways—from the Columbia, Snake and Willamette rivers to the Oregon coast and the Puget Sound—are efficient, reliable and environmentally sustainable.

We and our members invest in stewardship and continual improvement to sustain our working waterways and provide abundant water, clean energy, efficient transportation, jobs, culture and recreation for future generations.


Myths vs. Facts

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Know the Facts

  • The Columbia-Snake River System provides 90% of renewable power in the Pacific Northwest.
  • The river system reduces traffic congestion and pollution. In 2018, it would have taken 38,966 rail cars or 149,870 semi-trucks to move the cargo that was barged on the Snake River.
  • Juvenile fish survival rates past each of the eight federal dams on the system are between 95% and 98%.
  • The four Lower Snake River dams alone provide enough clean energy to power 1.87 million homes.
  • Eliminating the clean power and efficient transportation provided by the Lower Snake River dams would add to climate change by increasing cumulative carbon emissions equivalent to building a coal-fired power plant like the one in Boardman, Oregon, every five or six years.
  • Breaching the dams would disproportionately affect communities that can least afford it. The 10 counties most affected by this scenario are primarily rural areas in which 1 in 5 people are already at or below the federal poverty level.