Bonneville Dam is the dividing line between the undammed lower river and the complex of dams and reservoirs of the upper river, primarily for electrical production and flood control. The lower Snake River has another set of four dams primarily for navigation up to Lewiston, Idaho. (These Snake River dams have no flood control capacity and produce little power and only at the flow of the river.) The lower river has its management problems, making a lot of sport anglers angry over poor harvest management and allocation and the malicious modifications of the Governor's vision by the ODFW Commission. But, if you are an electrical ratepayer, a taxpayer, or invest in a fishing license, you are being treated much worse by the federal government's upper basin management.

Forget BPAs public embarrassment at the moment. They are trying to do something far worse. Thankfully, the state of Oregon is standing up to them.

Forty years of study and data indicates spill over the dams during the smolt migration to the ocean from April through August helps more young fish safely reach the Pacific. More recent data suggest that spilling at higher levels than we currently are could dramatically improve Smolt Adult Return (SAR) ratio - far better than going through turbines or even barging and trucking. The US Fish and Wildlife Service along with Oregon, Idaho, and Washington Fish and Wildlife agencies, the Columbia River Intertribal Fish Commission (CRITFC) and the Fish Passage Center have modeled the data to accurately predict SARs that would result from increased spill levels -- within a safe range of Total Dissolved Gas (TDG) levels in the water at dam forebays and tailraces. Bonneville Power Administration (BPA) does not like spill. It was a federal court that ordered a higher level of spill, resulting in bringing Snake River sockeye back from the verge of extinction and boosting adult returns for other runs as well.

Oregon is seeking an "enhanced spill test" (up to 125% TDG) as part of the federal government's fourth attempt to produce a BiOp that actually would be legal. BPA intends to roll back spill (along with the clock and salmon returns) to pre-court-order levels - risking our recently improved fisheries.