Irrigation, dredging, and hydropower operations have made the Columbia and Snake Rivers virtually unlivable for salmon. Earthjustice's Seattle office is working with a coalition of environmental, fishing, and energy groups to compel the government to breach four hydroelectric dams on the lower Snake River. (Breaching would require removing the earthen portions of the dams allowing the river to flow freely past the remaining concrete structures.)
In two recent victories, a federal judge ruled that the Army Corps of Engineers must ensure the lower Snake River dams comply with water quality standards. These rulings mark a key step in Earthjustice's efforts to reform dam operations to protect salmon.