salmon animation

  • Q. What is the current NEPA process and timeline, and how does that change if Orca are included in that process?

  • A. The CRSO NEPA process "will be looking at the effects of alternative operations on fish and wildlife, including orcas, that may be affected by system operations."

    Graphic: Annual average survival estimates for PIT-tagged yearling Chinook salmon hatchery and wild fish combined. Vertical bars represent 95% confidence intervals. Completion dates for the CRSO process are mandated by court order for the: Draft EIS (March 27, 2020), Final EIS (March 26, 2021), and Record of Decision (September 24, 2021). If the past is any guide, the federal agencies will once again ask for extention of these deadlines.

    On October 19, 2018, Donald Trump sent a memo, seeking the speeding up of the CRSO NEPA process. But this memo actually has little directive power (according to Columbia Basin Bulletin authors). By directing federal agencies to complete the process in 2020, it is hoped that a Record of Decision to might be signed one year ahead of schedule. In pleading for more time from Federal Judge Michael Simon, attorneys for the federal agencies had earlier "said it was not possible to complete unless the agencies were given five years."

    Importantly, the CRSO NEPA process is developing only a programatic EIS, which evaluates the effects of broad proposals or planning-level decisions. The Lower Snake River dams are currently operating under a Project Level EIS, and which contains LSR dam breaching as one of two "environmentally preferred alternatives".

    Breaching is reversible, extinction and ecosystem collapse is not.

    The concept of sustainability has been increasingly brought into focus as we have become convinced that all systems on earth are interrelated and that many of today’s problems were the solutions of yesterday. Sustainability is, however, a very old concept. Most American Indian cultures understood the importance of sustainability and sustainable development, living in harmony with all things.

    Many people are familiar with the Seventh Generation philosophy commonly credited to the Iroquois Confederacy but practiced by many Native nations. The Seventh Generation philosophy mandated that tribal decision makers consider the effects of their actions and decisions for descendents seven generations into the future. There was a clear understanding that everything we do has consequences for something and someone else, reminding us that we are all ultimately connected to creation.

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