A self-described Council of Elders urges President Barack Obama to place a "salmon czar" in the White House to coordinate salmon recovery across the Pacific Northwest. The group also urged the government shift endangered salmon management from the National Marine Fisheries Service to the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service.
The Council includes former Idaho Department of Fish and Game directors Rod Sando and Steve Huffaker, former assistant regional U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service director Bill Shake, former California Secretary of Resources Huey Johnson, former Oregon Fish and Wildlife Department Fisheries Chief Jim Martin, respected salmon biologists, Don Chapman, and Bert Bowler of Idaho and long-time salmon advocate Ed Chaney of Eagle.
The Council of Elders Report recommendations include:
The report was published by the Resource Renewal Institute .
- Establish an extension of the White House to lead and coordinate all the salmon recovery actions of the federal agencies. Immediately review the status of the current lawsuit and seek a stay if necessary.
- Consolidate Endangered Species Act responsibilities for all salmon species within the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service.
- Move implementation of the recovery and mitigation programs from the Bonneville Power Administration to the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service, with the requirement that Bonneville continue to fund the program.
- Immediately initiate audits and oversight of the Northwest Power and Conservation Council (NPCC) and Bonneville Power Administration to ensure compliance with the Northwest Power and Conservation Act and court decisions.
- Direct federal agencies to include the impacts of climate change and population growth in the Biological Opinion and the Columbia River recovery plans.
- Issue an Executive Order directing all agencies to protect independent science and scientists contributing to the implementation of federal programs.
- Support a congressional request for the National Academy of Sciences to complete a study of the economic benefits and costs of removing the four Lower Snake River dams with a full discussion of economic actions to assure regional stakeholders.
- Task the White House Council on Environmental Quality to develop and implement a federal water management-salmon recovery plan for the Columbia Basin.
Report by the Council of Elders and Resource Renewal Institute January 2009
Former Fisheries Chiefs, Biologists Urge Obama Appoint Salmon Czar
Idaho Statesman, February 3, 2009
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