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Dam Breach Advice may be to Congress in Spring

by John Stang, Tri-City Herald - August 24, 1999

A recommendation on whether the four lower Snake River dams should be breached may go to Congress next spring.

And at least three major salmon-related studies on the Columbia River Basin are to be released in draft form by the end of this year.

Then, the studies will be meshed together, public hearings will be held and recommendations will be made. Ultimately, all this will go to the National Marine Fisheries Service, which will send a recommendation to Congress, probably next spring.

The studies are looking at the 12 species of salmon in the Columbia and Snake river systems that are listed for federal protection and whether breaching the Snake River dams would help them recover.

Rick Ilgenfritz, director of external affairs for NMFS in the Northwest, discussed the study timetables with the Herald's editorial board Monday.

The studies include:

NMFS is leading this effort, with the Bonneville Power Administration, the Corps of Engineers and state fish and wildlife agencies participating. This paper also is due in November.

All of the studies are to provide a look at the overall salmon picture.

A series of 10 to 12 corps and BPA public hearings are to be in Washington, Oregon, Idaho and Montana in January and February 2000.

The BPA will make recommendations on the hydropower portion of salmon recovery efforts and pick supporting measures that go with each option.

This recommendation will go to NMFS - probably in March. Then NMFS will take the matter to Congress.

Meanwhile, NMFS has scheduled several public meetings at the Northwest Fish Science Center, 2725 Montlake Blvd., Seattle, in the next few months to discuss the 4H paper.

Meetings are set for Aug. 31, Sept. 29-30, Oct. 27-28 and a yet-undetermined date in December. For more information on the meetings, call 206-526-4646.

by John Stang
Dam Breach Advice may be to Congress in Spring
Tri-City Herald - August 24, 1999

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