America’s Most Endangered Rivers® Report: 2009 Edition

#3 Lower Snake River, Idaho, Oregon and Washington

Threat: Four dams

Four dams on the lower Snake River have caused dramatic declines in the Snake River basin’s once magnificent salmon runs and have stymied efforts to restore these fish. Removing the four dams and restoring a free-flowing lower Snake River will not only revive the salmon runs and a multi-million dollar fishery, it will eliminate a growing flood threat in Lewiston, Idaho and create an opportunity to modernize the region’s transportation and energy systems. The Obama Administration and the Northwest congressional delegation must convene negotiations to forge a river restoration plan that will work for communities and salmon in light of the threats posed by dams and global warming. Learn More 

UPDATE (October 2009): Judge James A. Redden of the U.S. District Court in Portland, Oregon is reviewing legal briefs on whether the Obama administration’s interpretation of the 2008 salmon plan meets the requirements of the Endangered Species Act.  A ruling is expected by late fall.  Earlier this year, Judge Redden signaled that he would throw out the plan unless the federal government committed to stronger, more certain salmon recovery actions.