“The science is clear that removing the earthen portions of the four lower Snake River dams is the most certain and robust solution to Snake River salmon and steelhead recovery,” said Oregon Gov. Kate Brown in a letter last week to Washington Gov. Jay Inslee.
NOAA Fisheries is proposing to approve and implement fishery management plans for two overfished stocks of chinook salmon – Klamath River fall-run chinook and Sacramento fall-run chinook. The stocks are large contributors to ocean salmon fisheries off the California and Oregon coasts.
When the Washington Department of Fish and Wildlife approved in late January a new permit allowing Cooke Aquaculture to begin growing rainbow trout/steelhead in its Puget Sound net pens, there were a number of groups and tribes that had already lined up in opposition to the permit. And one group may seek legal action to stop it.
Abundance of sub-adult and adult white sturgeon in the Columbia River downstream of Bonneville Dam took a jump this year, but abundance of juvenile sized and one-year-old or younger white sturgeon is lagging, which is indicative of an extended period of low productivity, according to a report by biologists that will be given at the Oregon Fish and Wildlife Commission meeting Feb. 7.
January was a wet month in much of the Columbia River basin with higher than average rain and snowfall, yet cumulative precipitation for the current water year that began Oct. 1, 2019 is lower than the 30 year average. That likely won’t improve much over the next 6 to 10 days as meteorologists at NOAA’s Northwest River Forecast Center are predicting below normal temperatures and normal precipitation.
The federal Environmental Protection Agency received a 30 day extension from the Ninth Circuit Court of Appeals to develop Columbia and Snake river temperature limits, known as Total Maximum Daily Load, but the EPA is still not saying what it will do at the end of the 30 days.
The U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service’s biological opinion for Columbia River basin bull trout, listed as threatened under the federal Endangered Species Act in November 1999, was first completed in the year 2000. Some 16 years later a lawsuit was filed to reinitiate consultation with dam operating agencies and 20 years later the Service is now nearing the final update of a new bull trout BiOp, which also includes Kootenai River white sturgeon.
Idaho Power filed a petition in December in Multnomah County that asks the court to dismiss a lawsuit filed in July 2019 by Pacific Rivers and Idaho Rivers United that had challenged the Oregon Department of Environmental Quality’s water quality certification for the utility’s Hells Canyon Complex of Dams – Brownlee, Oxbow and Hells Canyon dams.
Every fall Columbia River dam operators manage river flows through Hanford Reach to provide minimum flow protections for wild fall chinook salmon nests, also known as redds, at Vernita Bar.