Idaho Gov. Brad Little says he's not convinced breaching the four lower Snake River dams will recover Idaho's salmon runs, and reiterated his commitment to finding a solution for dwindling salmon and steelhead runs through a consensus-based four-state process.

His comments came in response to a $33.5 billion proposal by U.S. Rep. Mike Simpson (R-Idaho) to breach the dams and compensate those who depend on them (CU No. 1990 [15]; 1990 [16]). They expand on his earlier rejection of the proposal.

"My position on the lower Snake River Dams has not changed. I remain unconvinced that breaching the dams is a silver bullet for salmon recovery. Breaching the dams would have devastating impacts on Idahoans and vital segments of Idaho's economy," Little's statement says.

As with statements released by Washington Gov. Jay Inslee and Oregon Gov. Kate Brown, Little said he is committed to finding a solution through the Columbia Basin Collaborative, a regional process initiated by the governors of the four Northwest states to develop a comprehensive plan for achieving salmon recovery goals in the basin. Montana Gov. Greg Gianforte has not yet issued a statement.

Little said he was proud of the work done by his Salmon Workgroup, which came up with dozens of recommendations to promote healthy salmon populations and thriving communities. The group released its final report in December (CU No. 1984 [14]).

The Columbia Basin Collaborative is scheduled to hold its first organizational workshop on Feb. 24, in a virtual setting. Organizers are expected to share a statement of purpose and the proposed structure for developing a four-state solution to recovering salmon in the Columbia Basin.

"I have immense respect for Congressman Simpson and all the work he has done on behalf of the people of Idaho. We may not see eye to eye on this issue, but I am committed to continuing to work with local and regional stakeholders and the entire Idaho congressional delegation to improve salmon returns and ensure Idaho industries not only remain whole but are better positioned for the future," he concluded.

K.C. Mehaffey covers fish issues for Clearing Up, and is editor of the NW Fishletter. She joined the NewsData writing team in February 2018. From lawsuits to scientific studies, she is enjoying the deep dive into the Columbia Basin's many fish topics.