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Salmon Plans Heard at Workshop

by Andy Porter of the Union-Bulletin
Walla Walla Union-Bulletin, April 22, 2005

A recovery plan for the Snake River Basin will be sent to the federal government in June.

A workshop on a draft plan for salmon recovery in the Snake River Basin drew a sparse audience Thursday.

About a half-dozen people attended the meeting at the Walla Walla Regional Airport to hear a presentation on the wide-ranging plan presented by staff members with the Snake River Salmon Recovery Board.

The aim of the plan is to preserve and restore populations of threatened salmon species in the Snake River Basin. The region is one of seven throughout Washington state where salmon recovery efforts are under way, said Steve Martin, salmon recovery board director.

The draft report will be submitted to federal fisheries agencies at the end of June. Revisions and refinements will continue through the end of this year prior to any moves to adopt the plan, Martin said.

Restoration and recovery projects identified in the plan range from eliminating "imminent threats' such as barriers to fish passage to long-term projects to improve overall fish habitat along the streams and rivers feeding into the Snake River.

Over a 15-year period, the estimated cost for restoration and recovery is projected to be around $92 million, or about $6.12 million per year, Martin said. But "the good news is most of the programs are already funded or under way."

Discussion ranged from specific topics, such as the need to stabilize stream banks, to broad areas such as how the hydrology of the Snake River has been altered by creation of reservoirs behind the dams on the river.

Martin and consultant John Marsh also acknowledged there were questions over integrating the Snake River plan with other planning efforts in the region.

"There's a lot of groups that need to come together to talk about rights and responsibilities," Martin said.

At the close of the meeting, Martin said the next public comment opportunity will be at the Snake River Salmon Recovery Board's meeting at 6 p.m. Tuesday at the board's offices, 109 S. Second St. in Dayton.

Andy Porter of the Union-Bulletin
Salmon Plans Heard at Workshop
Walla Walla Union-Bulletin, April 22, 2005

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