Why breach the 4 Lower Snake River Dams?
The Southern Resident Killer Whales are on the verge of extinction. These orcas only eat fish, mostly salmon, and specifically Chinook —this biggest and fattiest salmon consists of 80% of their diet— but the salmon are also disappearing.
In the Pacific Northwest, 40% of Chinook runs are locally extinct, and a large portion of the remaining are threatened or endangered, including in the Columbia and its largest tributary: the Snake River, which continues to decline. In 2019, salmon returns in the Columbia Basin and Snake River were one of the lowest on record.
We’re coming to a tipping point, and it’s terrifying. We’re on the verge of not only losing two species but an entire ecosystem dependent on salmon.
This brings us to the four lower Snake River dams (Ice Harbor Lock and Dam, Lower Monumental Dam, Little Goose Dam, and Lower Granite Dam). These four dams kill approximately 8 million smolts (juvenile salmon) each year and prevent adult salmon from spawning (reproducing).
We have tried band-aid solutions in vain such as increasing spill (holes in the dams for the salmon to pass), increasing hatchery fish, and more bypass and habitat restoration, as well as closing down fisheries in the US waters.
But the southern resident killer whales keep starving to death and Chinook runs are in decline. Breaching the four lower Snake River dams will bring millions of salmon back. It will take approximately 6 months to breach the first two dams and have a free flowing river for salmon (not including channelization work, agricultural work, etc.) Once breached, it’ll take 14 to 18 months for adult salmon to be in the Pacific Coast. In parallel, it takes 3 to 10 years for salmon with hatcheries.
These four dams are losing money each year, Bonneville Power Administration (BPA) has to borrow $1.6 billion from the federal government (taxpayers’ money) over the next 2 years just to maintain the four lower Snake River dams. It would only cost $340 million to breach all four dams. If we breach the four lower Snake River dams this year, Eastern Washington would gain $200-300 million in economic benefits every year and an average of 3,000 jobs annually would be created.
The debate regarding the potential breaching of these four dams has been going on for over two decades, but the science is there proving it will be beneficial both environmentally and economically to start breaching these dams. We can’t waste another year debating over this, and that’s why we’re marching.
About the march
A collective of activists are organizing the March 4 The Dams, a 23-day trek from Portland to the Ice Harbor Lock and Dam to put global pressure on the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers, Bonneville Power Administration and Governor Inslee to start breaching the four lower Snake River dams in 2020.
The march will begin with a peaceful demonstration at the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers and Bonneville Power Administration headquarters in Portland and will end with another demonstration at the Ice Harbor Lock and Dam on March 22nd. Come walk with us for however long works for you, and see the map above to join whenever and wherever.
Our goal is for thousands of people to join the march, and get global attention on these dams and put global pressure on the US Army Corps of Engineers, BPA, and Governor Jay Inslee so they finally breach the four lower Snake River dams in 2020.
In February 2020, the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers will release a new Environmental Impact Statement (EIS), proposing different alternatives for salmon mitigation. One of those alternatives will be breaching the four lower Snake River dams. The public will be given a 45-day period from mid-February to the end of March to send their public comments and weigh in on which alternative needs to be taken. During the march, we will urge everyone around the world to send in their public comments.
March 4 The Dams will be the biggest movement to breach the four lower Snake River dams, and with that, we know we can get millions of comments flooding the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers demanding they breach the four lower Snake River dams this year.
The March 4 The Dams can get the four lower Snake River dams breached, but for that,
we need your help.
How can you help?
Come walk with us
All the way from Portland or just for a section
Join our rally
In Portland and Ice Harbor Lock and Dam
Send your comments
To US army Corps of Engineers
Tell everyone you know
Spread the walk
Share on social media
To make this go viral: #WeAreTheOrca & #March4TheDams
Call & write
to Bonneville Power Administration and Governor Jay Inslee:
Governor Jay Inslee
Comment by mail:
Governor Jay Inslee
Office of the Governor
PO Box 40002
Olympia, WA 98504-0002
Comment by phone:
Bonneville Power Administration
Comment by mail:
BPA, Communications – DK-7,
P.O. Box 14428,
Comment by phone:
Follow the link below:
Our sponsor PNW Protectors is a 501c3 organization and they will be accepting donations on our behalf. Each donation will fund lodging, food, tents for people who may not have them, and gas for two cars that will surround the group of marchers for safety reasons.
5,500$ raised of 10,000$ USD.
Frequently asked questions
Where can I sleep during the march
In the map above, you will find the different lodging options for each night. You will see a house icon for motels, and a tent for camping spots. If you are joining us for the portion of the march where only camping is available, bring a tent! There will be a bus to transport your camping gear, and we can give you a ride at the end of the day to your motel/camping spot.
Can I join the march after it began?
Yes! In the map above, you will see our start point and end point for each day so it’s easy for you to join us whenever, and wherever.