Governor Inslee signs critical funding for Snake and Columbia Basins


OLYMPIA, WASHINGTON – Today, Governor Jay Inslee signed Senate Bill 5187 and House Bill 1125, the 2023-2025 state transportation and operating budgets. These bills will fund studies required in the process to remove the lower four Snake River dams. The studies will plan to transition the energy, transportation, and irrigation services currently provided by the Lower Granite, Little Goose, Lower Monumental, and Ice Harbor dams and provide economic development opportunities to the region. Removal of the four dams is critical to avoid further decline in wild salmon and steelhead and honor Tribal treaty rights.

In 2022, Senator Patty Murray (D-WA) and Governor Jay Inslee commissioned a report, also funded by the Washington Legislature, on the replacement of services provided by the four lower Snake River dams. The report concluded that services can be replaced, and that studies on transportation and energy would ensure that the Pacific Northwest will move forward towards comprehensive solutions. Governor Inslee and Washington state legislators have now committed funding and approved the studies outlined in the Murray-Inslee report.

The studies, included in the final 2023-2025 Washington budgets, include $5.5 million dollars for the transportation study, $2 million for the energy study, and $500,000 for the irrigation study. The studies will result in information on what specific improvements to existing infrastructure, or new infrastructure will be required to ensure minimal disruption to local communities from federal action on the issue of dam removal.

“These studies are essential to supporting Pacific Northwest communities and the Washington economy. They will lay the foundation for a thriving region with a free-flowing Snake River. We are grateful for state budget writers, Governor Jay Inslee, and the Washington state legislators for their commitment to a future with clean energy, innovative infrastructure, and robust populations of wild salmon and steelhead.” – Alexei Calambokidis, Washington Policy Manager, Trout Unlimited

“We are grateful to Governor Jay Inslee and the Washington legislature for recognizing the critical importance of funding transportation, energy, and irrigation studies. This essential step, which was outlined in the 2022 Joint Federal-State Process on Salmon Recovery, will ensure that services provided by the dams are replaced and will pave the way for the removal of the four lower Snake River dams. Together, we will create a comprehensive plan that supports both the local and regional economy while also recovering wild salmon and steelhead populations. Urgent action is needed to restore a free-flowing Snake River, and this funding represents a vital step towards achieving that goal.” – Rob Masonis, Vice President of Western Conservation, Trout Unlimited

“By passing critical funding for transportation, agriculture, and energy studies, the State of Washington is moving forward towards a free-flowing Snake River. Now it’s time for Idaho and Oregon to follow suit: the Northwest Congressional delegation must work together to create a better future for our communities, regional economy, and wild salmon and steelhead.” – Greg McReynolds, Intermountain West Director, Trout Unlimited

For full details, read Senate Bill 5187 and House Bill 1125.


Trout Unlimited is the nation’s oldest and largest coldwater fisheries conservation organization dedicated to caring for and recovering America’s rivers and streams so our children can experience the joy of wild and native trout and salmon. Across the country, TU brings to bear local, regional and national grassroots organizing, durable partnerships, science-backed policy muscle, and legal firepower on behalf of trout and salmon fisheries, healthy waters and vibrant communities.