Wednesday November 1, 2023

Northwest Sportsman

A joint OPB/Pro Publica article says the devices that would be installed at Detroit Lake east of Salem and Lookout Point southeast of Eugene would cost a total of $622 million, but there’s a “simpler way.”

“Opening dam gates and letting salmon ride the current as they would a wild river,” the lengthy story by Tony Schick argues. “It costs next to nothing, would keep the Willamette Valley dams available for their original purpose of flood control and has succeeded on the river system before.”

He also casts doubts on the Corps’ rationale for continued dam operations on the system, stating that farmers, regional utilities and recreational boating companies “don’t need the help.”

“The Army Corps contends that halting dam operations so fish can pass, a low-cost solution proven to boost fish survival greatly, would harm hydropower customers, farmers’ irrigation and recreational boaters. But ProPublica and OPB’s reporting found that many of these interests say they don’t need all the power the dams generate or the water they retain,” reads a message from ProPublica communications manager Connor Goodwin in pitching the article to reporters. “Even the hydropower industry opposes the Corps’ plan to continue with hydropower, the cost of which will outstrip revenues by more than $700 million in 30 years, according to the Corps own estimates.”

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