Fall 2015 Update

 In News, Newsletters

Death Toll on Salmon, SRW in the News

Map omitting all dams on MIddle Snake River by U.S. Army Corps of Engineers

Map omitting all dams on MIddle Snake River by U.S. Army Corps of Engineers

Winter 2014-2015’s poor snowpack combined with Summer 2015’s record-breaking temperatures to bring long-feared conditions to bear on salmon. The already-endangered Snake River sockeye faced a known but long-avoided complication inherent to dams – water warms in reservoirs, killing coldwater fish runs and preventing populations from completing their anadromous life cycles and recovering. More than 40% of the Columbia’s remaining sockeye run – 250,000 fish – died this summer without spawning.

There is no scientific basis for a belief that this won’t happen again, so SRW is actively seeking a solution. As part of the “DamSense” coalition, we are looking for a route to breach the environmentally catastrophic and economically inviable Lower 4 Snake River dams as soon as feasible so nature can heal so the river and its people can recover historic salmon runs.

Read SRW member Linwood Laughy’s summary of why, even ignoring science and law, economics alone justify removal of the Snake River dams:


Photo courtesy of Columbia Riverkeeper

Photo courtesy of Columbia Riverkeeper

Heat + Dams = Dead Salmon

Documenting Record Temperatures

All Jazeera reporters caught up with SRW Director Buck Ryan on the water quality monitoring trail to discuss anadromous fish spawning and how record water temperatures have combined with known effects of dams to cripple this year’s sockeye salmon run.






WOTUS Lawsuit Filed

SRW’s First Legal Challenge Seeks National Protection for Headwaters

On August 27, SRW joined in a California federal court filing that challenges EPA’s new rule defining which “waters of the United States” are protected by the Clean Water Act. Represented by Stanford Law Clinic, we aim to overturn EPA’s “bright line” rule, which arbitrarily exempts waterways from protection merely because they are more than 4,000 feet from a jurisdictional waterway – regardless of influence on water quality. Lacking any scientific basis or consultation, EPA’s 11th hour concession to industry is an illegal and significant threat to small and ephemeral streams as well as downstream water quality. By overturning the rule, we would prevent unpermitted pollution of these waterways.

Read the complaint here:


More than 100 Swim Guide sites active online


SRW samples water quality across the Basin to warn you which reaches and stream are dangerous for swimming.

Download the free app to ensure the safety of your family on the water!


Two months of water quality monitoring still remain, but 2015 results to date have been daunting:

19 of 113 sites exceeded EPA’s Human Health Criteria for nitrate on primary contact recreation. Ingesting nitrate-laced water can cause “blue baby syndrome” in children up to age 7, resulting in illness and even death. Nearly 1/2 exceeded EPA’s Aquatic Health Criteria due to temperature or pH relative to salmon mortality levels.

Check Swim Guide before boating or letting your kids, stay away from reaches flagged red, and have fun!


Swim Guide Featured in Boise Weekly

Photo by Harrison Berry/Boise Weekly

Photo by Harrison Berry/Boise Weekly

BW writer Harrison Berry gets the lowdown on SRW’s mission, the free app, and why water quality matters.









Hendrickson on Dam Science

Photo credit Patagonia/DamNation

Photo credit Patagonia/DamNation

SRW member/contributor and DamSense coalition contributor Borg Hendrickson of Kooskia, ID offers thoughts on the misguided economic justifications cited by Snake dam proponents in a recent installment of the High Country ​News.


The nation’s focus is narrowing on Snake River dam removal.

Another HCN piece pointed out that the Snake is more polluted every day than the post-spill Animas River.


Undamming America

PBS’s recent NOVA feature on the evolution of dams – from building for power and irrigation, to removal for species preservation and recovery.


Patagonia also featured a piece on removing dams to save Orcas.

SRW Nominated for Nonprofit Excellence Award

The Idaho Nonprofit Center recently announced SRW’s nomination for a 2015 nonprofit excellence award. You can view the announcement here:


Free the Snake Flotilla

Gathering to Raise Awareness and Initiative for Snake River Dam Removal

Boaters, recreationists, and dam removal proponents will meet on the Lower Snake near Pullman, WA October 3 to demonstrate an immediate need for dam removal to revitalize the Snake River and native salmon runs. See the event announcement here:


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