Breaching Snake River dams could save salmon and orcas, but destroy livelihoods

The Lower Granite Dam near Almota, Wash., is the first of four dams on the Snake River as the river flows west from Idaho toward the Tri-Cities and the Columbia River. The Snake River provides water and transportation through a series of locks to bring products, grown with water drawn from dam pools, to market. Controversy over the fate of four dams on the river has risen anew in the wake of the ongoing struggle of Salish Sea orcas. (Mike Siegel / The Seattle Times)
The Lower Granite Dam near Almota, Wash., is the first of four dams on the Snake River as the river flows west from Idaho toward the Tri-Cities and the Columbia River. The Snake River provides water and transportation through a series of locks to bring products, grown with water drawn from dam pools, to market. Controversy over the fate of four dams on the river has risen anew in the wake of the ongoing struggle of Salish Sea orcas. (Mike Siegel / The Seattle Times)

Folks whose jobs depend on four federal dams in southeastern Washington say that pleas to breach the dams are forcing them to speak out in defense of their economy and their way of life.