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Conservation Groups Announce Intent To Sue Corps Over Willamette Chinook, Steelhead
Posted on Friday, November 03, 2017 (PST)

A coalition of conservation groups Thursday sent the Army Corps of Engineers a notice of its intent to sue over efforts to protect Willamette River chinook and steelhead.

 

The groups are Wild Earth Guardians, Native Fish Society, Advocates for the West, and Northwest Environmental Defense Center. The notice of intent to sue can be found at https://nativefishsociety.org/news-media/corps-on-notice-for-failing-to-protect-threatened-willamette-fish.

 

Historically, around 325,000 chinook and 220,000 steelhead made their way up Willamette Falls to spawn in the upper river basins, say the groups.

 

This year, they note, an estimated 5,880 wild spring chinook and 822 steelhead returned --  99 percent less than historical numbers.

 

(See CBB, July 14, 2017, “Ocean Conditions, Sea Lions Faulted For Low Willamette Steelhead Return; Only 822 Wild Steelhead” http://www.cbbulletin.com/439268.aspx)

 

In 1999, the National Marine Fisheries Service listed the Upper Willamette River fall chinook and winter steelhead as threatened under the Endangered Species Act.

 

The groups’ notice of intent to sue the Corps identified “numerous mandatory actions delayed again and again, such as the requirement to improve dam passage for adult and juvenile fish.”

 

(See CBB, “Willamette BiOp For Fish: Four Subbasins Focus Of Corps’ Salmon Reintroduction Programs Above Dams” http://www.cbbulletin.com/439107.aspx

 

The formal notice of intent to sue says: “This letter provides 60 days’ notice required under section 11(g) of the ESA, 16 U.S.C. § 1540(g), of NEDC, WildEarth Guardians, and Native Fish Society’s intent to sue the Corps for violations of the ESA unless the Corps agrees to correct the violations described herein within a reasonable timeframe. NEDC, WildEarth Guardians, and Native Fish Society are interested in discussing ways to resolve these issues without litigation, and achieving protections for salmon and steelhead in the most efficient and expeditious manner possible.”

 

Also see:

 

-- CBB, Aug. 11, 2017, “ODFW Analysis: With Continued Sea Lion Predation Willamette Winter Steelhead At Risk Of Extinction” http://www.cbbulletin.com/439416.aspx

 

--CBB, June 23, 2017, “Oregon To Seek Permit To Lethally Remove Salmonid-Eating Sea Lions At Willamette Falls,” http://www.cbbulletin.com/439150.aspx

 

-- CBB, June 9, 2017, “Groups Sue Corps Over Upper Willamette Summer-Run Steelhead Hatchery Releases; Says Harm Wild Fish” http://www.cbbulletin.com/439056.aspx

 

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