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The Top 10: Both Global
and Local Implications

by Staff
Lewiston Tribune, December 26, 2021

In the Tribune's countdown of the top stories of 2021,
some issues are far-reaching, others are hyper-local

Graphics: Predictions show natural-origin spawner abundance for the Snake River Basin will start to drop below the quasi-extinction threshold (50 spawners) within the next five years. (Molly Quinn/The Spokesman-Review) (Source: Nez Perce Tribe, staff research) . . .

No. 3: Simpson's proposal brings new attention to salmon vs. dams issue

Rep. Mike Simpson's dam breaching concept, unveiled in February, unleashed a cascade of Snake River salmon and steelhead news in 2021.

The Republican representing Idaho's 2nd Congressional District believes the four lower Snake River dams in eastern Washington must be breached in order to save Snake River salmon and steelhead protected by the Endangered Species Act. Simpson proposed breaching the dams and investing in affected communities and industries, at a projected price of $33.5 billion. His idea was trashed by river users and fellow Republicans and was largely dismissed by powerful Democrats in Oregon and Washington.

But the Nez Perce Tribe put its weight behind the proposal. The tribe hosted an Orca and Salmon Summit in Shelton, Wash., in July and organized resolutions of support from the Affiliated Tribes of Northwest Indians and the National Congress of American Indians. Fisheries officials from the tribe revealed an analysis showing several groups of wild spring chinook and steelhead at serious risk of extinction.

Gov. Jay Inslee and U.S. Sen. Patty Murray, both of Washington, reversed their initial hesitation to dam removal and, without endorsing Simpson's concept, said in October they would spend the next several months seeking ways to replace the services provided by the dams and announce their intentions by July 31 of next year.

At the same time, the federal government, Nez Perce Tribe, Oregon and conservation and fishing groups announced a pause in their 20-year litigation. In lieu of court proceedings, the litigants said they would try to "forge enduring solutions" to the salmon and dams issue. That process is also slated to wrap up July 31.

. . .

Staff, Clarkston
The Top 10: Both Global and Local Implications
Lewiston Tribune, December 26, 2021

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