Congress authorized construction of the four dams on the Lower Snake River in 1945 and during
the time period 1955 to 1975 the Army Corps of Engineers constructed Ice Harbor, Lower
Monumental, Little Goose, and Lower Granite. The Corps documents 63 named rapids that were in
existence prior to construction of these dams. Lewis and Clark encountered these rapids on their
journey down the river in October 1805. Removing the dams would open up new opportunities for
kayaking and rafting along 140 miles of restored river and would attract visitors from across the
In February 2002, the US Army Corps of Engineers released the Lower Snake River Juvenile
Migration Feasibility Report/Environmental Impact Statement that includes a review of the economics
dam removal. In a study of potential river users, and not including recreational fishing, results showed
that a large percentage of total general recreation visitation to a free flowing lower Snake River would
originate from distant areas resulting in an annual contribution of $310.5 million (1998 dollars). The
study found that current reservoirs are primarily local-use areas with visitors coming from 100 to 120
miles away. Reservoir users do not travel long distances as there are numerous reservoirs in the local
area, including Lake Wallula downstream from Ice Harbor Dam very near the Tri-Cities area,
reservoir near Lewiston, Idaho, and three large lakes near Spokane, Washington. Those desiring a
based recreation experience in contrast are willing to travel greater distances to visit free-flowing
rivers. Demand for paddlesports would be for over 300,000 user days following dam removal.
The Snake River along this section is the shadow of the river it once was. I will gladly pick up a shovel and help them remove the 4 Lower Snake River Dams, if we can have a free flowing Lower Snake. This would be an incredible multi-day float trip and can only hope that I am able to see it as the salmon used to. Please check out SOS's website, get involved and bring the salmon and the Snake River back.
12 years ago
This study applied the travel cost method to estimate demand for non angler
recreation at the impounded Snake River in eastern Washington.
Scoping comments of American Whitewater on the Columbia River System Operations EIS.
Overview of opportunities to address impacts of dams that impact salmon and navigation.
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If someone gets hurt on a river, or you read about a whitewater-related injury, please report it to
American Whitewater. Don't worry about multiple submissions from other witnesses, as our safety
editors will turn multiple witness reports into a single unified accident report.
Several dams in Washington State have known issues impacting fishery resources or river-based recreation. Some represent partial or complete barriers to fish passage that should be addressed; additionally impacts to geomorphology degrade habitat for fishery resources at many of these dams. In other cases the primary impact of the dam is on river-based recreation where the dam represents a hazard to navigation or public safety. Some of these dams may be candidates for removal while others could be modified to eliminate or reduce impacts. Several successful dam removals are also included in this story map.
Public Scoping Hearings have been scheduled this fall in Washington State, Oregon, Idaho and Montana to discuss the fate of Snake River Dams and their impact on salmon resources in the Snake River Watershed. We are encouraging the paddling community to engage in this public process which has implications for the overall health of the Snake River ecosystem and tributaries like the Lochsa, Selway, and Salmon River.
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