Living near the Snake River Canyon, we may take it for granted that we can go whenever we want to kayak, boat, swim, fish, or soak in the view. But the river that winds through Southern Idaho and into Washington and Oregon has been placed near the top of a national endangered rivers list.

Why Is Idaho's Snake River Among Top 5 Most Endangered In The Nation?

The Snake River is listed as the 4th most endangered river in the United States on the Most Endangered American Rivers website behind the Pearl River, Ohio River, and Colorado River in the Grand Canyon as the most endangered. We know in Idaho that there are locations along the Snake River where a dam partially blocks the flow of the water. We see this every year as the Shoshone Falls can be a roaring waterfall or a wall of dry rocks depending on the time of year.

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The American Rivers website claims that 4 dams on the lower section of the river in Washington are mainly to blame for current issues. They also clarify that the ‘endangered’ listing is referring to salmon and steelhead in the river. Since the construction of the 4 Federal dams in 1975 there has been a dramatic decrease in the salmon and steelhead populations, both of which are now included as threatened species in the Endangered Species Act. The act was established in 1973 as a way to protect at-risk fish, wildlife, and plants.

The proposed fix for the current issue would be to replace the existing dams with alternate technology to continue supplying the power provided by the dams and then remove the current structures. Those interested can read more and sign a petition at the American Rivers site.

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