Tearing Down Dams Could Save Western Rivers — and Also Make Climate Change Worse

Deep in the bowels of Idaho’s Brownlee Dam, Neal Lincoln is ready to offer a demonstration.

Almost 40 feet below the surface of the Snake River — whose waters originate in Yellowstone National Park, then cascade down the Rocky Mountains and course across Idaho — Lincoln makes a call to the power plant control room. The narrow hallway where we stand waiting is chilly, the air dank and the floor covered with leakage from the river.