Fish Restoration Plan OK'd by Tribes, Fedsby Staff
Daily Record, April 21, 2008
ELLENSBURG - April 23 is the deadline for public comment on a $900 million, 10-year plan to restore fish runs in the Columbia River Basin, reflecting an agreement recently reached by federal agencies and four tribes.
The plan is a settlement of a long dispute between the federal government and the Yakama, Colville, Umatilla and Warm Springs tribes, according to a news release.
In return for the federally-funded restoration, the tribes agree not to seek federal lawsuits against operators of dams that block endangered fish runs.
The plan calls for about 200 projects to improve habitat and fish hatcheries, install fish screens and weirs and increase funding to existing tribal fish-raising programs.
The plan is open to public comment and requires final approval from a federal judge. The Nez Perce Tribe isn't party to the agreement. That tribe wants removal of four Lower Snake River dams.
Much of the funding, about $850 million, will come from the federal Bonneville Power Administration. Some of the funds will go to salmon and steelhead restoration on the Yakima and Klickitat rivers.
Other funding will likely restart a project to restore native coho in the Columbia River. A new hatchery also is planned in the upper reaches of the Columbia River near the Colville reservation.
To comment on the proposed agreement, go to: www.bpa.gov/comment, or mail to: BPA, P.O. Box 14428, Portland, Ore. 97293-4428.
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