The US Army Corps of Engineers (USACE) has concluded that the four hydroelectric dams on Idaho’s Snake river should not be dismantled to save endangered species of salmon.

In the final feasibility report and environmental impact statement for the five-year Lower Snake River Juvenile Salmon Migration Feasibility Study, USACE has selected major improvements as the preferred alternative. According to the study, this will provide increased juvenile salmon and steelhead survival and maximise operational flexibility.

The USACE report has been forwarded to federal agencies for review, with the final report expected to be available to the region early in 2002.

‘In the final report this preferred alternative is known as the adaptive migration alternative,’ said Lonnie Mettler, Walla Walla District project manager for the feasibility study. ‘Adapting the dams with various operational changes and structures for improving fish passage better describes this alternative than simply calling it major system improvements.’

Operational changes include improving the coordination and implementation of spill, flow augmentation and juvenile fish transportation.

Structural changes include both near and long term improvements.