The operators of a dam on the Crooked River in Central Oregon that was identified as a Fish Passage High Priority Barrier by the Oregon Department of Fish and Wildlife in 2019 is proposing to add about 3 megawatts of generating capacity to the dam, while offering mitigation in the river downstream of the dam.
The U.S. Environmental Protection Agency this week announced a new rule that Washington Department of Ecology says “would significantly restrict the role for states in protecting water quality within their borders by making major changes to Section 401 of the federal Clean Water Act.”
The northeast Pacific Ocean from the Fraser River to the Bering Sea is warming, but it is also becoming more crowded with hatchery pink and chum salmon produced in Alaska and Russia. The competition for food by hatchery pink salmon in a warming ocean has resulted in a 15 percent drop in survival of sockeye salmon returning to the Fraser River and other streams in British Columbia, according to a study released this week.
On March 11 and 12, 2020, the week before COVID-19 international travel restrictions were put into place, Canadian and American negotiators reconvened in Washington, D.C. to continue discussions about a modernized Columbia River Treaty. This was the ninth round of talks since negotiations started in May 2018.
Fisheries managers say the health of white sturgeon populations in the Columbia River is healthy, but there is a paucity of detailed abundance data from the Snake River, and that each zone – lower Columbia, Bonneville Dam to McNary Dam and the Snake River –has its own issues.
Flows from Libby Dam in Montana designed to encourage white sturgeon movement and spawning in the Kootenai River will likely begin May 21, depending on water supply.
Since state shutdowns in March due to the Covid-19 pandemic, fish and wildlife programs and projects in the Columbia River basin have seen a range of impacts, from no impact to project delays to an early hatchery release of Kootenai white sturgeon and burbot, and even some project cancellations, according to staff at the Northwest Power and Conservation Council.
The U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service and NOAA Fisheries, in partnership with the Bureau of Reclamation and ODFW, is releasing additional water from Bowman Dam on the Crooked River to study the effects of increased flows in aiding spring chinook salmon and steelhead smolts in their downstream migration to Lake Billy Chinook.
The Washington state Department of Ecology this week blasted as “unconscionable” the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency’s decision to roll back the water quality standards for Washington state that the federal agency approved in November, 2016.