Snap Judgment

Would Breaching Dams on the Snake River Save Local Orcas?

Scientists at Friday Harbor’s Center for Whale Research say local orcas are starving and that the solution is to boost salmon runs by breaching four dams along the Lower Snake River. Junk science or a damn fine idea?

By Matthew Halverson January 27, 2017 Published in the February 2017 issue of Seattle Met

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“The Snake River tributaries have the best, most pristine salmon spawning habitat in the Columbia Basin. So putting back together the system that once supported these salmon by taking out these dams is the path forward.”

—Todd True, Earthjustice attorney

“This is just the latest sound bite that a very vocal group of people has come up with to try to promote removal of the Snake River Dams. The dams and the salmon, in our view, are coexisting pretty well.” 

—Terry Flores, Northwest RiverPartners executive director

“Puget Sound chinook are a listed species, and they’re right in the backyard of the whales. So that’s just as important, in terms of recovering salmon that are going to help the whales, as anything on the Columbia River.”

—Michael Milstein, NOAA Fisheries public affairs officer

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