Report expected to decide fate of Snake River electric dams

Snake River Dam

EVERETT, Wash. (AP) — Washington state environmentalists, farmers, tribal leaders and public utility officials are awaiting a federal report concerning whether four Snake River dams can coexist with a dwindling salmon population.

The U.S. Army Corps of Engineers, the U.S. Bureau of Reclamation and the Bonneville Power Administration are expected to release the report Friday, The Everett Herald reports.

The 100-foot (30-meter) dams on the lower Snake River are key electricity suppliers to the Pacific Northwest.

Options range from doing nothing to the dams between Pasco and Lewiston, Idaho, or completely breaching them.

The ultimate decision could affect the price of power throughout Washington state and impact salmon recovery, irrigation, river navigation, flood protection and recreation.

It is too early to tell what the impact on electricity rates could be, Snohomish County Public Utility District spokesman Aaron Swaney said.

The 1,000-mile (1,609-kilometer) Snake River, the 13th-longest in the United States, once produced salmon runs in the millions.

Spawning grounds were disrupted when the dams were built and environmental groups say they must be breached to restore the salmon population.