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Bum Rushed

The year the topmost of the two photographs below was taken, salmon could still migrate up the Snake River to the base of southern Idaho's 212-foot-high Shoshone Falls. Over the years, things have changed on the Snake. Dams below the falls prevent the fish from even getting close to their natal waters (they are now extinct in this stretch), and irrigation diversions -- heavily subsidized by taxpayers -- literally drain parts of the Snake dry in summer months. There's also Idaho Power, which has a hydroelectric project next to Shoshone. When the river is low, the company takes almost all of the falls' water, reducing the gushing cascades to barely gurgling trickles. These images are part of the Third View Project, which is taking "rephotographs" of historic western landscapes.

Photos of Snake River Canyon

Photos: Top, Timothy O'Sullivan; Bottom, Mark Klett and Byron Wolfe/Third View Project

OnEarth. Summer 2002
Copyright 2002 by the Natural Resources Defense Council