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Columbia-Snake River dam operators must now make water temp control plan to help endangered salmon

Conservation groups say the “game-changing decision” is necessary to protect endangered salmon species, which struggle to survive when river temps exceed 68 degrees.

Editor's note: The above video explaining the hardships salmon have crossing dams previously aired on KING 5 in 2017.

The Washington State Department of Ecology in a historic action has required federal operators of eight dams on the Columbia-Snake rivers to create a plan to keep the waters cold enough for adult salmon survival. 

The Daily News reports conservation groups said the “game-changing decision” is necessary to protect endangered salmon species, which struggle to survive when river temperatures exceed 68 degrees.

Hydropower proponents say meeting the temperature standards could be unattainable without costly rate hikes for utility customers in hydropower-reliant areas. 

Ecology’s water quality program manager Vince McGowan says it could take two years before federal agencies release a detailed plan to meet the state’s water temperature requirements. 

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