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Bush Investments, Plans Working for Fish

by Vice Admiral Conrad C. Lautenbacher, Jr.
Seattle Post-Intelligencer - September 19, 2004

We all know that salmon are an important part of the region's heritage and economy. What some don't realize is that many endangered species are experiencing a renaissance.

Since listed in 1999, Hood River summer chum have increased 900 percent to 36,000 fish. Snake River spring/summer run Chinook hit 100,000 in the past three years -- up 11,000. Lower Columbia steelhead are up 300 percent.

Favorable ocean conditions are responsible for some of that success, but so are federal, state and local commitments.

Federal investments have helped improve hundreds of miles of in-stream and estuarine habitat, boost juvenile fish survival and passage through dams through new technology, and reform hatchery and harvest practices. The administration's federal salmon funding requests are up 30 percent over 2000 levels.

The president's 2005 budget includes a $10 million increase for the Pacific Coastal Salmon Recovery Fund for a total of $100 million available for local, state, tribal and private habitat restoration and protection projects, including over 500 on-the-ground projects in Washington.

Agencies responsible for the Columbia River hydroelectric system recently proposed aggressive actions in habitat restoration, predator control and effective fishery management. Add $600 million in new dam technologies to promote fish passage, and Northwest residents no longer have to choose between clean, affordable energy and saving fish.

The Bush administration is serious about building on these successes with initiatives like the Shared Salmon Strategy and the Hatchery Reform Project that work on Puget Sound rivers and streams to protect the vitality of salmon.

Salmon recovery is working because of this commitment and leadership.

Vice Admiral Conrad C. Lautenbacher, Jr. U.S. Navy (Ret.), Under Secretary of Commerce for Oceans and Atmosphere, Washington, DC
Bush Investments, Plans Working for Fish
Seattle Post-Intelligencer, September 19, 2004

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