The Columbia-Snake River System is the nation’s top wheat export gateway, allowing farmers in the inland Northwest and Midwest to move their products from farm to market through ports like the Port of Vancouver USA

The lower Snake River dams – four hydroelectric dams on a 120-mile section of river between Lewiston, Idaho, and the Snake’s junction with the Columbia River – provide a number of benefits to our region and nation.

They provide enough cheap, clean energy to power 676,000 homes annually; safe and efficient navigation; reduced carbon emissions due to hydropower and marine transportation; and fish improvements that have contributed to record salmon and steelhead returns over recent years.

But the dams are currently under scrutiny. NOAA Fisheries in January 2014 released its Supplemental Federal Columbia River Power System Biological Opinion (BiOp). In May 2016, Judge Michael Simon of the United States District Court issued his ruling. While Judge Simon left the current BiOp in place, he found that federal agencies must produce an updated Environmental Impact Statement (EIS) and deliver a new BiOp by September 2021. He further ruled that the agencies must consider removal or alteration of the four lower Snake River dams as an option for fish protection.

Involved federal agencies are currently working through the EIS scoping process and have scheduled 15 meetings and two webinars to help determine the scope of the analysis. These meetings are open to the public and will be held in cities across Washington, Idaho, Montana and Oregon. Meeting dates and locations can be found at

The Port of Vancouver USA, as a river stakeholder, is writing a letter in support of the benefits the Snake River dams bring to our region and port. The dams provide critical transportation, hydropower and environmental benefits to our region, which benefit our communities by ensuring crops can efficiently move from farm to market; fueling our homes and businesses with clean energy; and helping control flooding and move fish safely along the river.

The federal agencies want to hear from river stakeholders like us and you by Jan. 17, 2017. You can provide comments by emailing, or by mailing written comments to:

P.O. Box 2870
Portland, OR 97208-2870