Report: Judge Wants Dam Removal
by Matthew Preusch
A federal judge weighing the federal government's salmon plan for the Columbia Basin wants the breaching of four dams on the Snake River included as a possible option should salmon runs in that river face extinction.
The NW Fishletter reports that was one message U.S. District Court Judge James Redden gave in an April 2 closed door meeting with litigants involved in a lawsuit challenging the plan, called a biological opinion.
"The judge wants NOAA Fisheries to add language to the BiOp that would provide a breaching 'off-ramp' in case the Snake runs collapse. That could take some fancy legal footwork, since the feds had recently announced they were not going to reopen the 2008 BiOp for consultation," the Fishletter says.
Redden has twice before rejected the government's strategy for squaring salmon recovery with the running of the basin's system of hydropower dams, but at a March 6 hearing he said the current strategy was "very close".
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