Re: “Snake River dams in hot water” [June 30, Opinion]:
The recent Op-Ed about water temperatures in the Snake River follows a familiar pattern of substituting insinuation for data.
The authors assert the Army Corps of Engineers “largely ignored” temperatures on the Snake River. Temperature data show this is false.
Data from the last 15 years shows the dams’ impact on water temperature has fallen dramatically. Additionally, the period of highest temperature impact moved from early September, when chinook and steelhead are present, to August, before the fall runs. This reflects improved temperature management.
Dam opponents point to fish deaths in 2015 as evidence of the dams’ impact. They don’t mention that 2015 was the worst year for snowpack in more than three decades. Weather, not the dams, caused the high temperatures.
They also don’t mention that salmon runs in 2015 were the highest in decades. When trying to claim that chinook runs are declining, it is inconvenient to mention that populations have been on an upward trend for two decades.
Spending billions to destroy the Snake River dams based on insinuations is not only wasteful, it irresponsibly distracts our resources from efforts in the Puget Sound region that represent the best hope we have for salmon and orca.
Todd Myers, environmental director, Washington Policy Center