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. From Bellingham to Bandon and Astoria to Boise, it’s what makes the Pacific Northwest strong and balanced—and we all must protect it.

Some in our region are pushing to breach the four Lower Snake River dams. They declare that this is the only solution to save salmon and orcas. However, this approach does not acknowledge the complexity of environmental challenges facing our region today, nor the real impacts of dam removal on electricity generation, farming, air quality, economies, cultural resources, habitat, and more.

Know the Facts

  • The Columbia-Snake River System provides 90% of the renewable power generated 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%.
  • 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.
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

Our decisions have real impacts on real people. Add your voice to the thousands of people and organizations who believe we can have a working river system that allows all uses to thrive.

  1. Learn more and share your perspective – find us on Facebook, Twitter, and Instagram

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

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

  4. Become a PNWA member and be directly involved in advocacy efforts

Championing our Waterways for Future Generations

The Pacific Northwest Waterways Association was born right here in the Northwest, and our members live, work, and play on our region’s waterways. We are the farmers who grow your food and the electrical cooperatives that power your home. We are the ports, shippers, and dock workers who keep your shelves stocked. And we are the environmental and engineering professionals who make sure all this happens safely and efficiently, balancing economic progress and environmental conservation.

PNWA 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.