Snake Again on American Riversby CBB Staff
American Rivers this week named the Snake River as one of the nation's Most Endangered Rivers for 2003, citing what it contends will be the likely failure of a federal plan to improve river conditions to recover endangered salmon species.
The Snake River is at the No. 8 spot on the list released by American Rivers and dozens of national, regional, and local groups at events across the country.
The annual America's Most Endangered Rivers report highlights acute threats to the rivers rather than their chronic problems. The groups warned that the next 12 months would be crucial in determining the Snake's long term future.
"Despite the release of the federal salmon plan in 2000, river conditions have not improved," said Rebecca R. Wodder. "Unless the Bush administration and Congress step up their commitment to restore the river, it may soon be too late to save the salmon first documented in Lewis and Clark's journals."
The Snake River and its salmon will reach several important crossroads in 2003, and the outcome will determine whether recovery efforts get on track or continue to falter, says American Rivers. The conservation groups called on Congress to provide sufficient funding for federal agencies to satisfy their recovery plan obligations and to hold oversight hearings when those agencies release the results of the 2003 "check-in" this September. The groups also urged Congress to pass the Salmon Planning Act, which would create a "safety net" should recovery efforts fail.
Each year, American Rivers solicits nominations from thousands of river groups, environmental organizations, outdoor clubs, and taxpayer watchdogs for the America's Most Endangered Rivers report. The report highlights the rivers facing the most urgent and imminent threats. It is not a list of the nation's most chronically polluted rivers. The report presents alternatives to proposal that would damage rivers, identifies those who will make the crucial decisions, and points out opportunities for the public to take action on behalf of each listed river.
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