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Breaching Snake River dams is needed to restore salmon, NOAA report says

caption: Snake River Lower Monumental Dam in Franklin County, Washington.
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Snake River Lower Monumental Dam in Franklin County, Washington.
U.S. Army Corps of Engineers

A final report from the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration states the four Lower Snake River dams in southeastern Washington must go.

Rob Masonis, a conservation expert with Trout Unlimited, agrees. He says removing the dams will be a foundation of salmon recovery.

“If you don’t have that foundation, the billions of dollars that we have spent, and will spend in the future, will not produce the desired outcome of salmon recovery,” Masonis said. “We need to remove the big bottleneck that’s preventing us from realizing the benefit of those investments and that’s the four dams on the Lower Snake River.”

Trout Unlimited works to protect stream and river habitat.

RELATED: Youth rally to protect salmon in the Snake River

The report from NOAA also suggests that things like predator management, restoring estuaries and habitat, along with reintroducing salmon above the Chief Joseph and Grand Coulee dams could help restoration efforts.

Republican Rep. Dan Newhouse is against removing the dams. He argues that the region can't produce clean energy without the Lower Snake River dams.

“The Biden administration is playing politics with its energy future, while ignoring recent data showing spring and summer chinook returns at higher levels than they have been in years,” Newhouse said in a statement.

RELATED: Time is running out for salmon as the Snake River dam removal debate enters a new phase

Read the full story from Northwest Public Broadcasting here.

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