Joyce D Parks to Mindy Simmons US Army Corps 01.04.2018

From: Joyce Parks
Sent: Thursday, January 4, 2018 9:24 AM
To: Mindy Simmons, Designated Federal Officer for the Committee, US Army Corps
Subject: Comments for Jan. 10th Environmental Advisory Board Committee Meeting

Dear Ms. Simmons,

The energy the 4 lower Snake River Dams create is well past it’s economical benefit because solar & wind have since more than three times replaced the output of these 4 dams.  We no longer need these man made disruptive and damaging mechanisms.  Dams are the one thing that is driving the Chinook salmon to extinction & in turn the Southern Resident Orcas off the coast of WA, and the total breakdown of the ecosystem of the Lower Snake River and Columbia River.

Chinook salmon is the primary source of nutrition for these orca. The salmon and steelhead are the primary source of nutrition and livelihoods of the tribes along the Snake River.  The Orca require the Chinook salmon which provide 80% fat in their diet to ensure the survival & growth of their pod.  The pod members; J, K, & L are dwindling due to lack of food & are down to low 70’s presently. Early in 2017, 8 calves were born.  Most do not survive because their mothers and family members are starving.  If there is no salmon for the adults, what possible chance do the calves have?  None.

I have serious concerns about the 4 earthen dams on the Lower Snake River that are having a negative impact on all native species of Salmon that return to this habitat as well as the health of the Yurok tribe.  This tribe is showing a significant increase in diabetes among the people.  They need the salmon to keep their people well and protect their meager livelihoods.

This issue is getting down to the point of no return.  Orca are having to forage far and wide to find salmon and not with much success. Sadly, many have died due to starvation since 2016. To ground yourself more on these death I am including this website.

The Elwha River on Washington State’s Olympic Peninsula is an excellent example of how rapidly a free flowing river can restore its watershed, and how rapidly salmon and other wildlife will return to an undammed river if doubts remain about whether dam removal can restore an ecosystem.  The natural restoration is impressive & gives hope to the people for the recovery on the Snake and Columbia rivers.

These dams need to be breached which is easily done because they are earthen dams. It would not involve blasting concrete. The algae is giving off methane which is causing the water temps to rise on top of global warming. So even if the salmon are lucky enough to make the travel swimming upstream jumping over man-made ladders (ridiculous, ineffective, costly) (alive but barely), the hot water kills their effort to proliferate.  This hydro-power is causing a loss of habitat for 2 of our endangered species:  Southern Resident orca of the Puget Sound and Chinook salmon.  Surely we can be better stewards than this. All of the yearly studies continue to indicate significant loss of Chinook salmon and Steelhead trout.  Scientific monitoring quite clearly shows this decline. MORE STUDIES IS NOT THE ANSWER.

We are out of time! No more studies or a new EIS for the lower Snake dams. The Corps current EIS has dam breaching in the statement as an option, and you have the authority to implement it.  BPA has the funds to execute it.  There is even an updated breach plan in the EIS. Breaching must being this year in 2018.

I urge you to implement the existing EIS as soon as possible in 2018; it is our last hope to salvage this dam disaster.  We have to stop throwing good money after bad decisions; this nonsense has gone on long enough & is a huge waste of taxpayer’s money. I, for one, am disgusted with the Corps for not doing what is rightfully needed here.  Nothing is more important in this issue than avoiding extinction of these species & the ecosystem. In addition, we always seem to run into a wall in getting this data presented to LTG Semonite.  I have emailed the President to look into this on our behalf.

Please, let us do what is right and timely this year of 2018.

Joyce D. Parks, Fairbanks, AK