Hydropower For A Better Northwest

Lead the charge for the Northwest to realize its clean energy potential using hydroelectricity as the cornerstone.

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Northwest River Dams

Who We Are

Northwest RiverPartners is a member-driven organization that serves not-for-profit, community-owned electric utilities in Oregon, Washington, Idaho, Montana, Utah, Nevada and Wyoming. We also proudly represent partners that support clean energy, low-carbon transportation, and agricultural jobs.

  • We educate the public and policymakers about the important role of hydroelectricity
  • We partner with our members, Native American tribes, communities, agencies, and businesses to achieve common goals
  • We support research and analytics so the region can reach informed decisions
  • We engage in public processes to provide balanced insights and suggestions

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Hydroelectricity is a critical, carbon-free, resource to fighting climate change.

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Goals For
The Northwest

  • Fight climate change through hydro
    Hydropower provides abundant renewable energy to our region while supporting other renewables and allowing for low-carbon transportation via our rivers. We advocate for the continued use of hydropower to help achieve a carbon-free future.
  • Restore healthy fish populations
    Salmon are the lifeblood of the Northwest. We seek solutions that allow salmon and dams to coexist while supporting salmon recovery efforts that address habitat, predation, and management of such an invaluable resource.
  • Include vulnerable communities
    Our region is home to communities of all walks of life. While we all benefit from hydropower, we recognize the importance of affordability and reliability to rural and low-income communities and ensure that their needs are valued in public policy.
  • Maintain a reliable electric grid
    Dams are one of the only currently available renewable resources that can provide firm energy. They can also ramp up generation in a cold snap or heat wave–all without breaking the bank. We advocate for retaining these dams because they are essential to our way of life.
  • Support healthy agricultural communities
    Agriculture and Northwest hydropower go hand in hand. Dams provide irrigation, energy, and transportation necessary to feed our region and make our crops available to people around the world, and we support the needs of our agricultural partners.

Join Our Fight

Hydroelectricity is a critical, carbon-free, resource to fighting climate change.

Take Action

Our FAQs

  • 1 Who uses hydropower?

    Almost every electric utility customer in the Northwest uses at least some amount of hydropower, since it produces roughly half of the region’s electricity. The Bonneville Power Administration markets most of the most hydropower in the Northwest. BPA’s customers are mostly not-for-profit organizations, like cooperatives, municipalities, and public utilities. Generating clean, affordable energy is important to these organizations. They also aid in protecting cities and homes from flooding, providing irrigation for farms, enabling low-carbon transportation in the form of barging, allowing for recreation, and aiding in fish passage.

    NWPCC - BPA Electricity
    NWPCC - Dam History

  • 2 How effective are hatcheries and habitat restoration efforts?

    While several salmon stocks are still endangered, data show that the Columbia and Snake River are producing significantly improved numbers of juvenile salmon. According to NOAA Fisheries, “…the Columbia and Snake Rivers may now produce more juvenile salmon than they did prior to dams and development, when hatchery fish are included.”  Adult returns also saw significant improvements in the last decade, but poor ocean conditions reduced those numbers once again. Like the Snake River, undammed rivers from Southern Oregon to Alaska are seeing worsening returns of adult salmon, which is a cause for concern.


    NOAA Fisheries Fact Sheet: Southern Resident Killer & West Coast Chinook Salmon
    University of Washington--Columbia Basin Research--Data Access in Real Time
    SalmonRecovery.gov--Citizens Guide

  • 3 Are Northwest dams a source of methane gas?

    Northwest dams and reservoirs do not create significant methane emissions.

    US Army Corps of Eangineers - Response to Methane Study

  • 4 If dams aren’t the problem for salmon survival, what is behind the salmon population declines?

    Scientists theorize the problem is occurring in the ocean. A recent peer-reviewed study shows that roughly 85% of the total historical vegetated estuary area for the West Coast has been lost. Losses were highest for major river deltas.

    Some scientists have also pointed to the growing numbers of seals and sea lions, which feed on the fish, as behind the declines.

    Others say the warming and acidifying of the ocean are killing off the prey that the salmon depend on. There is strong evidence that ocean conditions, including ocean temperatures, are an important predictor of adult salmon returns.

    Insights into estuary habitat loss in the western United States using a new method for mapping maximum extent of tidal wetland
    12-3-2018 CBC News "More than a dozen B.C. chinook salmon populations in decline, scientists say"
    NOAA Northwest Fisheries Science Center Outlook for Salmon Returns

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