Water in the Pacific North West
How the PNW is tackling climate change and it’s effects on salmon and orca populations.
Water from the snake river is diverted by 27 dams and delivered to farms through canals.
A report titled “Rebuilding Interior Columbia Basin Salmon and Steelhead” details of a potential plan to preserve the declining salmon population are outlined.
Part of this plan, backed by President Biden, includes breaching hydroelectric dams on the Snake River.
The report cites the importance of maintaining and improving the salmon population for ecological systems and tribes whose livelihood once depended on the salmon, like the Nez Perce.
The Nez Perce tribe has introduced the Salmon Orca Project, which is dedicated to saving the salmon population. Their solution focuses heavily on the destruction of lower Snake river dams which cause a Salmon’s journey to take 10-30 days instead of the unobstructed 2 to 4.
Saving salmon on the snake my come at the cost of electricity for those who receive power from the dams.
Bonneville Power Administration, a division of the U.S. Department of Energy provides power to all of Washington, Oregon, and Idaho from Dams along the Snake River.
While replacing the electricity lost is possible, the Biden administration estimates that replacement could cost between 11 and 19 billion dollars.
Nimiipuu Energy is owned by the Nez Perce tribe. Their goal is to replace the power currently purchased from BPA with other energy sources, like solar power.
Idaho Representative Mike Simpson has voiced his support of removing the lower snake river dams and has created a plan that will require $33.5 Billion in funding.
Most of the parties involved agree that though removing 4 lower snake river dams will aid in preservation of salmon population, further action is needed to restore historical population numbers.