March 18, 2015
Brett Haverstick, Friends of the Clearwater (208) 882-9755
Pat Rathmann, Palouse Environmental Sustainability Coalition (208) 882-8262
Tristen Beaudoin Ecology & Conservation Biology Club (208) 503-2550
Local panel discussion focuses on breaching
lower four Snake River Dams
Moscow-The Palouse Environmental Sustainability Coalition, in conjunction with the University of Idaho Ecology & Conservation Biology Club and Friends of the Clearwater, are co-sponsoring a panel discussion on Monday March 23 titled, Lower Snake River Dam Breaching: Embracing the Inevitable. Saving Money, Saving Salmon. The panel is made up of Jim Waddell, retired Deputy District Engineer Walla Walla District -Army Corps of Engineers, Kevin Lewis, Conservation Policy Director Idaho Rivers United, Sam Mace, Inland Northwest Director Save our Wild Salmon and dam breaching advocate Linwood Laughy. The event is free and open to the public.
The afternoon panel discussion will take place from 12:00 – 2:00 pm in the Whitewater Room of the Commons at the University of Idaho in Moscow.
“The Army Corps of Engineers greatly underestimated the costs to the American taxpayer for maintaining the lower four Snake River Dams in their 2002 study,” said Brett Haverstick, Education Director for Friends of the Clearwater. “This panel discussion is going to dispel the myth that maintaining the status quo is more affordable and practical than breaching.”
The panel discussion will examine the sharp decline of commercial navigation on the lower Snake River, the exorbitant costs of operating and maintaining the dams, replacing hydropower produced by the dams, potential extinction of wild Chinook, and the vast socio-economic benefits of a free-flowing Snake River.
“Freight transportation on the lower Snake River is so miniscule that the Army Corps of Engineers classifies the waterway as “negligible use”,” said Pat Rathmann, community organizer for Palouse Environmental Sustainability Coalition. “Why are we spending hundreds of millions of dollars on an annual basis to maintain the commercial waterway, the dams and the hatcheries? Let’s save money, restore the waterway, revitalize local communities and bring wild salmon home by breaching the lower four Snake River dams.”
A second discussion will take place from 7:00 – 9:00 pm at the Unitarian Church of the Palouse, which is located at 420 East Second Street in Moscow.
“The Ecology & Conservation Biology Club is proud to be part of this important dialogue,” said club president Tristen Beaudoin. “It’s no longer a question of if the lower four Snake River dams should be breached, but when. We think the time is now. Less than 1% of wild Chinook are making it back to their native spawning grounds. That’s a recipe for extinction.”