Corps delays lower Snake dredging, shows need for more study

The U.S. Army Corps of Engineers announced this week that it has delayed a controversial proposal to dredge behind Lower Granite dam including the shipping channel and ports of Lewiston and Clarkston. 

The Corps originally wanted to begin dredging this winter but now admits its proposal needs more thorough environmental review. For the past several months citizens, conservation groups and the Nez Perce Tribe have raised serious concerns about the impacts on endangered wild salmon and economic costs of the Corps’ dredging plans, and the Corps’ failure to provide adequate analysis of either.

“Our calls for further scrutiny have helped postpone this ill-conceived dredging plan,” said IRU Conservation Director Kevin Lewis. “The American taxpayer expects and deserves a transparent and honest assessment of further subsidizing obsolete forms of shipping.”

The Inland Northwest Director of Save Our Wild Salmon, Sam Mace, said SOS is glad the Corps “has delayed its ill-advised rush to dredge this coming winter.”

“We look forward to working with the Corps and others to now take a harder look at whether the dredging plans make sense for salmon or taxpayers,” Mace said.

IRU member Linwood Laughy has invested hundreds of hours examining the Corps’ plans and has concluded they don’t make sense for taxpayers or shippers.

“The Corps needs to take this opportunity to complete an honest cost-benefit analysis of dredging the lower Snake River and seriously ask whether the perpetual dredging is the best solution to the growing flood risk sediment is causing for Lewiston and Clarkston,” he said “The agency also needs to address the immense taxpayer costs associated with maintaining the lower Snake waterway.”

Follow this link to read Laughy’s report, The Five Most Blatant Myths about Freight Transportation on the Lower Snake River.