In Whitman County, the lower Snake River winds along our southern boundary. As powerful as it is pictorial, the lower river and its four dams provide the people of Whitman County with jobs, trade, transportation, power, recreation and more. Learn more about each below.

The many benefits of the Snake River Dams:

Direct and indirect JobsCaret

From grain growers to barge operators to port workers, the lower Snake River dams support many livelihoods across the Palouse.

  • There are eight public port districts in the Snake River region: Columbia, Central Ferry, Garfield, Almota, Whitman County, Wilma, Lewiston and Clarkston. These ports drive economic growth and create thousands of jobs in our region.
  • In 2017, agricultural exports (primarily wheat) shipped from the Snake River to ocean ports accounted for 1,346 direct jobs.
  • Indirectly, these exports supported 2,635 jobs.
International tradeCaret

Our 465-mile “river highway” gives Whitman County wheat farmers access to international markets.

  • More than 85% of Washington's wheat is shipped for export; nearly all of it is shipped on the Columbia and Snake rivers.
  • Whitman County wheat growers can compete internationally because of their high product quality and low price point, made possible by the cost efficiency of barging.
  • The total commerce from the Snake River is second only to the Mississippi.
Efficient river transportationCaret

Barging provides the safest, most efficient, cleanest and lowest cost mode of transportation for trade.

  • Barges have fewer accidental spills or collisions than any other mode of transportation.
  • Between 50 and 60 million tons of cargo is transported through the deep draft and inland parts of the river system each year. No other transportation route offers comparably efficient cargo transport options into the interior of the United States.
  • Barging is nearly 40% more fuel-efficient than freight trains and 270% more fuel-efficient than semi-trucks.
Clean, renewable hydropowerCaret

This renewable energy source keeps our electricity rates low and our businesses buzzing.

  • The Columbia-Snake River System provides 90% of renewable power in the Pacific Northwest.
  • Hydropower helps meet our carbon-free energy goals by producing thousands of Megawatts and storing energy for wind and solar.
  • The four lower Snake River dams alone provide enough clean energy to power 1.87 million homes.
Unrivaled recreationCaret

Because of the lower Snake River dams, the Palouse enjoys unrivaled recreational opportunity.

  • Opportunities for boating, fishing and swimming on the Snake are key drivers of tourism and recreation in our region.
  • Beautiful on-water facilities, such as Boyer Park and Marina, were made possible by reservoirs filling behind the dams and creating lakes.
Direct and indirect JobsCaret
International tradeCaret
Efficient river transportationCaret
Clean, renewable hydropowerCaret
Unrivaled recreationCaret

From grain growers to barge operators to port workers, the lower Snake River dams support many livelihoods across the Palouse.

  • There are eight public port districts in the Snake River region: Columbia, Central Ferry, Garfield, Almota, Whitman County, Wilma, Lewiston and Clarkston. These ports drive economic growth and create thousands of jobs in our region.
  • In 2017, agricultural exports (primarily wheat) shipped from the Snake River to ocean ports accounted for 1,346 direct jobs.
  • Indirectly, these exports supported 2,635 jobs.

Our 465-mile “river highway” gives Whitman County wheat farmers access to international markets.

  • More than 85% of Washington's wheat is shipped for export; nearly all of it is shipped on the Columbia and Snake rivers.
  • Whitman County wheat growers can compete internationally because of their high product quality and low price point, made possible by the cost efficiency of barging.
  • The total commerce from the Snake River is second only to the Mississippi.

Barging provides the safest, most efficient, cleanest and lowest cost mode of transportation for trade.

  • Barges have fewer accidental spills or collisions than any other mode of transportation.
  • Between 50 and 60 million tons of cargo is transported through the deep draft and inland parts of the river system each year. No other transportation route offers comparably efficient cargo transport options into the interior of the United States.
  • Barging is nearly 40% more fuel-efficient than freight trains and 270% more fuel-efficient than semi-trucks.

This renewable energy source keeps our electricity rates low and our businesses buzzing.

  • The Columbia-Snake River System provides 90% of renewable power in the Pacific Northwest.
  • Hydropower helps meet our carbon-free energy goals by producing thousands of Megawatts and storing energy for wind and solar.
  • The four lower Snake River dams alone provide enough clean energy to power 1.87 million homes.

Because of the lower Snake River dams, the Palouse enjoys unrivaled recreational opportunity.

  • Opportunities for boating, fishing and swimming on the Snake are key drivers of tourism and recreation in our region.
  • Beautiful on-water facilities, such as Boyer Park and Marina, were made possible by reservoirs filling behind the dams and creating lakes.

That's why we work to educate the public and policymakers about our rivers.  We hope you'll join us!

Take Action
Here's how you can help.
  1. 1
    Write your representatives and Governor Jay Inslee
  2. 2
    Attend the Snake River Family Festival - and follow our event on Facebook
  3. 3
    Write letters to the editor in your local Whitman County newspapers:
Resources
River system fact sheets:
"Our River System Sustains Agriculture"
download
"Our River System Fights Climate Change"
download
"Our River System Supports Jobs"
download
Related News
July 21, 2020
Port of Whitman County
Port Commission Issues Public Comment on EPA Temperature Report
EPA has extended the deadline for public comments on the Total Maximum Daily Load (TMDL) for temperature on the Columbia and Lower Snake Rivers through August 20, 2020.
Read more
April 8, 2020
Port of Whitman County
Port of Whitman County cancels 2020 Snake River Family Festival
In support of public health guidelines, the festival will not take place until 2021
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March 2, 2020
Port of Whitman County
Port of Whitman County encourages public comment of river system
First public comment meeting slated for March 17 at Lewiston Red Lion Hotel
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