The Snake River is the Columbia River’s largest tributary. It originates in Wyoming, runs across Idaho, and flows west into Washington. Historically, this waterway produced over one third of the Columbia’s salmon population, which is vital to the local economy, Tribal cultures, and the orca population. In the 1960s and 1970s, four federally-funded dams were built on the Lower Snake River to generate electricity and support shipping barges. As a result, the salmon and orca populations plummeted and are now at dangerously low levels, with the risk of possible extinction.
Idaho Conservation League (ICL), in partnership with numerous other environmental organizations and Tribal groups, have been pushing for decades to remove the four Lower Snake River dams. There has been growing support for removal of these dams at the Congressional and Administrative levels, but the region first needs to replace the electricity generated and grain transportation services provided by the dams. To address these aspects, ICL is providing technical and coordinating support to the groups that are focused on finding effective solutions to these concerns.
With funding from The Conservation Alliance, ICL will focus on building more grassroots and political support for the removal of these four dams. ICL will also implement a plan to give business members and their customers opportunities to engage in and advocate on this issue. The approaches will focus on rebuilding healthy and abundant salmon and orca populations, generating clean and affordable energy, and supporting local economies and Tribal communities.