The Army Corps of Engineers is operating the lower Snake River at a water elevation that decreases survival of protected salmon and steelhead but provides safer navigation conditions for tug and barge operators.

Fish managers have protested the move intended to increase the depth of the navigation channel near Lewiston and argued the needs of the fish should take precedence over transportation of grain and other products. For example, the Nez Perce Tribe suggested that river transportation be temporarily halted or the location of the shipping channel shifted to deeper areas of the reservoir as alternatives to raising the elevation.