Three of the U.S. government’s top salmon scientists contend today in an article in the journal Science that breaching four dams on the lower Snake River in southeastern Washington might not be the best way to ensure the survival of salmon runs. The article by scientists at the National Marine Fisheries Service supports the Clinton administration’s recommendation this summer that the dams be left in place for now. Their findings, which stress the importance of improving estuary conditions for the fish, differ from those of a five-year, $5 million study by federal, state, and tribal scientists that concluded in 1998 that breaching the dams would be the most certain way of saving the salmon. NMFS abandoned that study and commissioned the more recent work described in Science.

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