On track to reach a run size of 3,200 fish, Willamette River wild steelhead may post one of the best returns of the threatened fish in more than three years, according to the Oregon Department of Fish and Wildlife.
The U.S. Army Corps of Engineers opened a National Environmental Policy Act process this week that looks at the operation and maintenance of the agency’s Willamette River projects and their impact on threatened upper Willamette River wild winter steelhead and wild spring chinook.
In a two-step challenge to operations at Willamette River basin dams, attorneys for a coalition of conservation groups argued in court Thursday that the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers should immediately take steps to improve conditions for migrating juveniles and spawning adult salmon and steelhead, even while the Corps works with NOAA Fisheries on a new biological opinion.
A new biological opinion for the federal Columbia River power system aimed at protecting and recovering salmon and steelhead listed under the federal Endangered Species Act was completed Friday and posted without fanfare to the NOAA Fisheries website.
After a colder than average February and with snow piling up at low elevations in the Snake River basin, a sunny and warm early March is resulting in runoff from the basin that is sufficiently supplementing flows lower in the Columbia River that will keep water over several hundred chum redds (nests) downstream of Bonneville Dam.
Providing access to areas upstream of dams in the Columbia River basin that when built blocked passage for anadromous fish is a priority in many of the amendment proposals to its basin Fish and Wildlife Program received by the Northwest Power and Conservation Council.
A 30-day comment period began this week (March 11) on a draft environmental assessment for downstream fish passage at Cougar Dam on the south fork of Oregon’s McKenzie River. The public review period will end April 10.
The Bonneville Power Administration spent nearly $260 million in direct costs for its Fish and Wildlife Program in fiscal year 2018, according to a draft report approved for public comment by the Northwest Power and Conservation Council.
The Bonneville Power Administration has spent billions of dollars on Columbia River basin fish and wildlife mitigation and it continues to spend nearly $300 million each year in direct expenses for the Columbia River Fish and Wildlife Program.