Expert: Removing Snake River dams not best way to save salmon, fed report says

  • March 12, 2020

Removing the Snake River dams would do more harm than good for salmon recovery, not to mention farming and the region’s economy, says Todd Myers, Environment Director at the Washington Policy Center. He talks with Dillon about the reasons why, and why some environmental groups apparently don’t want to accept the science on this issue.

A judge ordered the army corp of engineers to look at the four lower Snake River Dams and their impact on salmon and other benefits the dams provide, Meyers said.

The four dams provide about 7% of Washington’s electricity — which is mostly carbon free, transportation down the river, some flood control and some irrigation, he added. The engineers had to look into all aspects to see if tearing down the dams would be the best options. 

“What they found is, on balance, no,” Meyers said. “It would do more harm than good to tear down the dams, because although there might be some benefit to salmon, it would be relatively small compared to the losses that you would get in electricity … and the other benefits.” 

Meyers says the Environmental Impact Study said it would be better to keep the dams and manage their impact instead of destroying the dams. 

Meyers said anyone who argues about keeping the dams isn’t paying attention to the science. 

“Tearing down the dams would only have, what NOAA fisheries calls, a marginal impact on salmon for the Orca,” Meyers said. Meyers adds the best place to focus attention to help salmon and the Orca is the Puget Sound.