Hastings: Science and Economics Say Reduce Spills at Dams, Transport Juvenile Salmon in Low Water Year


WASHINGTON, D.C., April 8, 2010 - Today, House Natural Resources Committee Ranking Member Doc Hastings (WA-04) sent a letter to the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA), the Bonneville Power Administration (BPA) and the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers requesting that, in light of this year’s low water supplies, endangered juvenile salmon should be transported past dams rather than flushed downstream by spilling water at the dams.

A January 2010 study by NOAA Fisheries’ Northwest Fisheries Science Center found that juvenile fish transported in barges resulted in significantly higher rates of returning adult salmon in most cases compared to fish kept in-river.

“Moving from spilling water to transporting juvenile fish in a low water year is supported by science,” said Hastings.  “It also saves Northwest families and businesses money in these tough economic times by generating clean, low-cost hydropower rather than water bypassing the turbines through spill.  Transport would restrict the need for expensive water spills and would also protect the young salmon from predators, low flows and warmer water conditions.  We must have a balanced dam operation to improve fish survival and preserve critical water and power resources.”

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