Feds Give Stakeholders
by Aaron Kunz
BOISE, Idaho -- Environmentalists, irrigators, and other stakeholders in the Northwest are being offered an expanded role in shaping the long-term recovery plan for salmon and steelhead in the Columbia Basin.
The National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration Fisheries is the federal agency in charge of salmon recovery in the Columbia and Snake rivers. The agency Tuesday sent letters to hundreds of stakeholders in the Northwest. It invites them to provide input on the plan it is working on to restore salmon and steelhead populations.
Greg Stahl with Idaho Rivers United says he's encouraged by the invitation. But he wouldn't call it a game-changer until he's sure that input from his group and others will influence the long-term salmon recovery plan.
"This is a first and it's a solid step toward a new approach." Stahl says. "It's one we hope will bear fruit."
Gilly Lyons, a policy director for Save Our Wild Salmon in Portland, says her group is pretty happy about the letter.
Save Our Wild Salmon has long contended that input from stakeholders outside a circle of federal agencies is a critical step forward, she says.
NOAA and other federal agencies are also working to come up with a new version of their long-term salmon recovery plan. A federal judge in Portland has given them until 2014 to complete it.
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