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Opinion

Save Our Wild Salmon

January 24, 2013
 
There are an awful lot of numbers in the Army Corps of Engineers plan to dredge the ports of Lewiston and Clarkston and the shipping channel of the lower Snake and Clearwater rivers.
 
Those numbers are coming at you at a fast clip. Can you keep up?
$16 million - What the Army Corps spent preparing its response to the siltation filtering from the Clearwater and collecting in the slackwater created by the four dams.
Five years - How long it took to prepare the plan.
More than 1,000 pages - the length of the Army Corps' plan.
10 years - How long environmental groups, including Idaho Rivers United, have been battling the Army Corps about the dredging issue. Churning up a plume of silt from the riverbed can choke salmon, steelhead and bull trout in the river.20 years - How long the Army Corps plans to dredge the river under this new plan.
14 feet - The depth required for barge traffic to easily navigate the river channel.
12 feet -The depth at some parts of the shipping lane.
3 feet - How much higher Lewiston's levee system might be raised as an alternative to dredging.
3,000 cubic yards - The amount of sediment the corps will dredge from the Port of Lewiston.
10,000 cubic yards - The amount of sediment the corps wants to dredge from the Port of Clarkston.
407,000 cubic yards - The amount of sediment the corps expects to dredge from the shipping channel.
$2.3 million - The amount Lewiston port critic Linwood Laughy figures dredging will cost every year.
$3.2 million - Laughy's yearly cost estimate once the report's $16 million price tag is amortized.
$38 million - What Laughy says taxpayers will spend keeping the shipping lane open for the next 10 years.
587,177 tons - The amount of grain and other freight the Port of Lewiston shipped downriver in 2011.
$5.40 - The amount Laughy says taxpayer-supported dredging subsidizes each ton shipped out of the Port of Lewiston downriver.

A lot of numbers and most of them are huge.

Now here are two smaller figures:

60 days - That's how much longer the Army Corps is giving you to digest all of this data. The $16 million, 1,000-page report was released Dec. 14. You may not have noticed, given the report's release in the midst of the holidays. The public comment period closes March 26.

One - Your one and only opportunity to meet face to face with the architects of this dredging plan comes tonight. An informational meeting is set for 5:30 p.m. at the Clearwater Room of the Williams Conference Center at Lewis-Clark State College.

You might want to be there.- M.T.

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