SPOKANE, Wash. — A federal judge is forcing discussion of a radical step to save endangered salmon: taking out four dams on the Lower Snake River.

The public will get a chance to weigh in at meetings throughout the Northwest starting next month.

"Scientists tell us that removing the four Lower Snake dams is the single most important action we could take to restore salmon in the entire Columbia-Snake river basin," said Sam Mace of Save Our Wild Salmon.

The four dams produce about 5 percent of the Northwest's hydroelectric power. They allow barges to ship goods between Lewiston and Portland. But they also hamper salmon migration to some of the best remaining fish habitat.

Commercial interests have long opposed removing the Lower Snake dams.

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