Snake River named most endangered river in America by national advocacy group

The Spokesman-Review

The Snake River on Tuesday was named the No. 1 most endangered river in 2021 by an influential national advocacy organization.

“The America’s Most Endangered Rivers report is a call to save rivers in need of urgent action,” Tom Kiernan, president of American Rivers said in a news release. “We’re facing a critical choice on the Snake River. We can either stay with the status quo, which means failing salmon runs, more costly litigation, increasing energy insecurity and broken promises to tribes. Or we can choose to invest in salmon recovery and infrastructure solutions that create a future of abundance and prosperity for the region. We think the choice is clear and we’re calling on the Northwest congressional delegation to take action now.”

Salmon returns on the Snake River, which is the largest tributary into the Columbia River, have plummeted.

When four dams were built on the Lower Snake River – Ice Harbor , Lower Monumental , Little Goose and Lower Granite – they flooded 14,400 acres, washing away ancient Native American gathering sites, burial grounds, fishing holes and towns. Salmon populations plummeted with the dams, which cut off 55% of the Columbia Basin’s fish habitat. In 1991, Snake River sockeye salmon were protected under the federal Endangered Species Act.

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