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MARCH 9, 2000

Contact: Justin Hayes, Amy Souers 202-347-7550

Rob Masonis, 206-213-0330

For the full report, visit www.americanrivers.org


Last Chance for Americans to Halt Salmon Extinction

Dam Removal Is Most Effective, Least Expensive Solution

(Washington, DC) - Americans have only until March 31 to cast their votes
save salmon and remove four federal dams on Washington's lower Snake
American Rivers, a national conservation group said today. In an
announcement, the group named the lower Snake River the nation's Most
Endangered River for 2000, and urged citizens to visit
to submit comments as part of the public hearing process on the dams.

At a press conference in Washington, D.C., followed by a migration to the
White House to deliver thousands of public comment forms, the
group said dam removal is the only solution that will save the salmon,
treaty obligations with Indian Tribes, protect the Northwest economy and
quality of life, and save billions of taxpayer dollars.

"Our country is in the middle of a salmon crisis. Americans must act now
save this legendary fish and vote to remove these dams that simply don't
make sense. If we delay any longer, the fish will go the path of the
and a national treasure will be lost forever," said Rebecca Wodder,
president of American Rivers.

American Rivers will release the full list of the nation's Most
Rivers for 2000 on April 10. Wodder explained that the group made the
emergency announcement about the Snake River to spur the public to speak
before the public comment period ends on March 31.

"Americans hold the fate of the salmon in their hands. If you want your
children and your children's children to be able to experience one of the
most magnificent creatures ever to grace our waters, visit
www.salmonforever.org," Wodder said.

"Every study has shown that dam removal is the best-and probably only-way
restore the salmon. And if we don't remove the dams, federal taxpayers
be stuck with a billion-dollar bill," she added.

Failure to remove the dams will require significant spending for more
expensive salmon-recovery options. And, according to federal estimates,
four Columbia/Snake River Indian tribes guaranteed the right to fish by
federal treaty could be entitled to over  $10 billion in
that would come from federal taxpayers-if there is not enough salmon to
support tribal fisheries.

Today's announcement comes near the end of a series of public hearings
across the Northwest and Alaska, where dam removal supporters have
outnumbered those who favor keeping the dams. To date, over 100,000
comments supporting dam removal have been generated.

Wodder called dam removal the best solution for salmon, the people, and
economy of the Northwest.

Science supports dam removal:
Studies by the National Marine Fisheries Service, U.S. Fish & Wildlife
Service, State and Tribal fisheries agencies, and independent scientific
committees all support dam removal as the cornerstone of an effective
recovery strategy.

Dam removal is less costly than other options:
Economic studies show that dam removal is less expensive than other
recovery options, such as new restrictions on farming, logging, and
commercial fishing. Measures such as acquiring water from Idaho
irrigators-to speed migration of fish to the sea-and repairing the dams
comply with the Clean Water Act would cost more than $500 million
and eliminate more than 4,000 jobs.

Benefits of the dams can be replaced:
Studies also show that the benefits the dams provide can be replaced by
investing in highways and rail and upgrading irrigation equipment. The
produced by the dams can be easily and affordably replaced  -- without
harming the environment.  The dams produce less than 5 percent of the
region's electricity.  Shutting down the dams would increase the average
residential electricity bill by only $1 to $5 per month, and still the
region would enjoy the lowest-cost power in the nation.

Dam removal would create new jobs, economic benefits:
Removing the dams will also generate approximately $300 million in
recreation-related income for the region. Dam removal would create 12,000
temporary jobs and more than 2,000 permanent jobs. A recent study by the
Idaho Fish and Wildlife Foundation found that a restored salmon and
steelhead fishery would produce $170 million annually in economic
for Idaho alone.

Oregon Governor John Kitzhaber recently became the first major political
figure to endorse breaching the four dams and allowing the river to
to a natural free-flowing condition.

The Clinton-Gore Administration is legally obligated to decide this year
whether to remove the four lower Snake River dams as part of its salmon
recovery plan.

Joining Wodder at today's press event were Rep. Tom Udall (D-NM); Don
Sampson, Executive Director of the Columbia River Inter-Tribal Fish
Commission; Jim Martin, retired, Chief of Fisheries, Oregon Department of
Fish and Wildlife and Conservation Director, Pure Fishing, the nation's
largest fishing tackle company; and Lewis and Clark, in costume.

The four dams (Ice Harbor, Lower Monumental, Little Goose, and Lower
Granite) were built by the Army Corps of Engineers in the 1960's and
They kill salmon by flooding spawning habitat, interfering with migration
young salmon to the sea-exposing them to predation and disease-and by
creating obstacles to adult salmon returning to spawn.

American Rivers will announce the full list of the 15th annual report,
America's Most Endangered Rivers at press events across the country on