U.S. District Judge James Redden doesn’t hold back when Aaron Kunz of EarthFix and Outdoor Idaho asks him how to save endangered salmon.
“I think we need to take those dams down,” Redden said.
Redden stepped down in 2011 after ruling that the federal government’s plan for protecting salmon and operating dams on the Columbia and Snake River was not adequate. He ordered a new plan be written by the end of 2013.
Federal dam managers have alternatives to breaching the four dams on the Snake Rive in Washington, Redden told Kunz. They include spilling more water over all the dams to divert juvenile salmon away from powerhouses on the lower Snake and Columbia rivers.
“The spills, which they do not like, that has been very helpful,” Redden said.
Salmon advocates say removing the Snake dams is cheaper in the long run and will have fewer impacts on the region than alternatives including spill. Dam supporters say it will end barge transportation to Lewiston and remove important carbon-free power sources.
Here is the interview that will run this summer on Outdoor Idaho.
Here's more of Aaron Kunz' interview on why Redden ordered spill:
And on the role of science in fisheries decisions: