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The Consequences of Removing Dams and Changing River Flow in the Columbia River in Washington & Oregon - Essay Example

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One of the pinnacle landmark sites of the Pacific Northwest region in the U.S.A. and a prominent environmental resource base discharges surface water over and flows for more than 1,000 miles, according to Bill Lang, eminent historian (…
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The Consequences of Removing Dams and Changing River Flow in the Columbia River in Washington & Oregon
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Download file to see previous pages This crisis poses wholesale environmental, economic and social consequences; hence, this survey examines some of the major consequences of removing the dams and changing the Columbia River flow and describing the impact upon salmon numbers.
The debate over the controversial topic of dam removal in order to safeguard the salmon against extinction rages among environmentalists, scientists, politicians, fishing families, river-based entrepreneurs, etcetera. The Army Corps of Engineer's report, according to Richard Davis, identifies "three critical industries [that] would suffer closing or relocations if the dams were to be removed. Primarily aluminum manufacturing would be hit by higher electricity rates. Wood products producers would incur higher costs to ship logs, wood chips, pulp paper and lumber. [Likewise], food processors would be damaged by the loss of crops grown on lands irrigated from the lower Snake River" (
"The U.S.
"The U.S. Army Corps of Engineers has estimated that breaching the dams would increase electricity bills for Northwest ratepayers by $300 million, add $40 million to transportation costs, eliminate 37,000 acres of prime irrigated farmland, wipe out 2,300 jobs, and cut personal income by $278 million a year." (qtd in Brunell
However, Dan Hansen noted that the U.S. Army Corps' extensive report provides no recommendations to resolve the environmental crisis the Pacific northwest faces ( In contrast, however, the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Services was quite resolute in its response to the situation; it has claimed that deciding on a course of action should be very easy indeed because "for native fish and wildlife, a free-flowing river is better than a dammed river" (
Apparently, according to Hansen also, some scientists believe that the best method of protecting the endangered fish populations lies in breaching the dams. The impact of dismantling the dams, however, would entail life-altering repercussions on the surroundings and human populations. For example, the annual economic costs would be pegged at $246 million owing to losses in electricity production ( Sealing off the interlocking dam mechanisms with their attendant closure of the federal waterways would most likely result in the demise of Lewiston, Idaho, for example, as a "seaport." Should a dam breach be effected Lewiston, Idaho, would no longer be the harbor providing navigational facilities for ocean-going ships. Furthermore, because the locking mechanisms of Snake River dams facilitate barge freight from Lewiston, Idaho to the Pacific Ocean, commodities presently being shipped by barges would have to be re-routed to trucks or railways. Another ramification would engender the federal government having to invest billions into new highways, state roads and railway lines if the dams are disrupted (Brunell).
Along this argument, Richard Davis also announced that the economic consequences of removing the dams "would fall heavily on rural Eastern Washington and the Columbia ...Download file to see next pagesRead More
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