NW Council Approves
Maintains the goal of achieving smolt-to-adult return rates of 2 to 6 percent.
PORTLAND, Ore. - The regional agency that oversees Pacific Northwest power development has approved an extensive revision in its $200 million a year fish and wildlife management plan.
The Northwest Power and Conservation Council voted Tuesday to adopt a revision of its 2005 Columbia River Basin Fish and Wildlife Program, which tries to mitigate the effects of hydroelectric dams in Oregon, Idaho, Montana and Washington.
The council, based in Portland, provides oversight and guidance for conservation measures across the four states with funding provided by electricity ratepayers.
The eight council members approved the program unanimously except for the portion that includes recommendations on Columbia and Snake river dam operations. Oregon's two council members voted against that section because it could conflict with the state's position in a federal lawsuit over future dam operations.
The fish and wildlife program revision began in November 2007 when the council called for recommendations from fish and wildlife agencies and Columbia River Basin Indian tribes.
Council Chairman Bill Booth said he was proud of the revised plan, which includes changes recommended by scientists, tribes, utility and fishery managers, and environmental groups.
But Nicole Cordan, spokeswoman for Save Our Wild Salmon, said she was concerned about a provision that suggests the council is considering removal of the Fish Passage Center, the agency that counts Columbia River salmon and steelhead.
The council agreed to changes in the oversight board for the center in 2007 after the 9th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals ruled the Bonneville Power Administration could not close the center and transfer its operations to other agencies.
The proposed closure was part of a dispute over fish numbers used by a federal judge to decide whether Bonneville had to spill more water over Columbia and Snake river dams to increase fish survival - which would reduce the amount of hydropower generated in the summer.
Cordan said the provision about the fish center was added to the revised council plan at the last minute, without public review and comment, in an attempt to "weaken the FPC's abilities to give the public unfiltered independent scientific assessment and it is simply wrong."
The revised plan:
(bluefish quotes NW Fishletter: "They estimated that Upper-C sockeye SARs (smolt-to-adult return) in recent years have ranged from 0.67 percent to 8 percent, while Snake sockeye SARs varied from 0.07 percent to 0.7 percent.")
bluefish.org Offers Reward by Staff, Idaho Mountain Express, May 23, 2008
Survival of Snake River Salmon & Steelhead Data compiled July 2004 by bluefish.org
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