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Crapo: Salmon Recovery Plan not Near

by Brian Peters
Lewiston Tribune, August 17, 2001

Despite the need, it could be several years before an effective salmon recovery plan can be put in place, Idaho Sen. Mike Crapo said during a visit to the Port of Lewiston Thursday.

"Getting new resources, in the amounts that I have requested, is very, very difficult," Crapo said.

Crapo made stops at the Port of Lewiston and the Nez Perce Tribal Hatchery being built along U.S. Highway 12 at Cherrylane, east of Lewiston.

Without a good salmon recovery plan in place, Crapo said dam breaching could become reality.

And that would effectively end Lewiston as a port town, said David Doeringsfeld, the Port of Lewiston's manager.

"The economic impact has been looked at by the Corps of Engineers, and it put the impact on the region up around $250 million in losses per year should the dams be removed," Doeringsfeld said.

Crapo is asking for $688 million for his salmon recovery plan, $400 million more than is now being spent.

The money would go towards such things as improving salmon habitat and fish hatcheries by reducing the danger of disease and predation.

The possibility of dam breaching will be revisited by the National Marine Fisheries in about two and half years, which will review the progress of salmon recovery.

"If you can't implement those mitigation efforts then obviously you're going to breach," said Judi Danielson, a member of the Northwest Power Planning Council.

The council helps shape the protection and rebuilding of fish and wildlife populations affected by hydropower development.

"And I'm sure there are some folks that think that's just fine. But in the meantime, we're losing salmon," Danielson said.

"I think the senator's plan makes sense," Doeringsfeld said.

"Even though dam breaching has been taken off the table for a couple of years, we still need the resources to fund improvements," he said.

Crapo acknowledged that asking for an extra $400 million for salmon recovery is a very tall order.

"That having been said, salmon recovery is such a critical priority to this region that I hope we can build a pretty strong coalition among the Pacific Northwest delegations," he said.

Crapo said it is critical that the congressional delegations of Oregon, Washington and Montana get behind his proposal.

"We need to see bipartisan support and we need it to be very vocal," Crapo said.

"If the Pacific Northwest, on a bipartisan basis, were to stand up and speak strongly on something like this, it would dramatically reduce the time frame to get this implemented," he said.

Brian Peters
Crapo: Salmon Recovery Plan not Near
Lewiston Tribune, August 17, 2001

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