The Pacific Northwest’s Columbia River is a powerful force – currently managed primarily to maximize hydropower generation and flood risk management, the Columbia River Treaty is due for an update in 2024. To help inform Treaty negotiations, Earth Economics is partnering with a coalition of tribes and area stakeholders to conduct an economic valuation of the Columbia River Basin’s natural capital.
A new Earth Economics report evaluates the cost-effectiveness of continued dam operations as compared with the benefits of a free-flowing Lower Snake River. Earth Economics’ latest analysis took a look at four dams along the Lower Snake River in Southeast Washington, investigating whether the dams’ benefits outweigh the costs. As they stand, the dams return only $0.15 on every dollar, but a free-flowing Lower Snake River has an estimated $4.30 return for every dollar.