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.
Although precipitation totals to this point in the winter has been dismal, water supply forecasts at the Columbia River basin’s major dams are all in the 90 percent range or better, with the exception of the North Fork Clearwater River basin upstream of Dworshak Dam.
Washington state this week changed its water quality standards by raising the amount of total dissolved gas it will allow at Columbia and Snake river dams during juvenile salmon and steelhead migrations, paving the way for higher spill levels this spring.
NOAA Fisheries this week released the final recovery plan for threatened Puget Sound steelhead, with an emphasis on addressing impassable culverts. The plan says recovery could take up to 100 years.
Is it the obligation of the states of Oregon and Washington? Or is the Environmental Protection Agency responsible for completing Total Maximum Daily Load limits for temperature to protect salmon and steelhead in the Snake and Columbia rivers?
The value of protecting cold water refuges during adult salmon and steelhead migrations is especially important with rising water temperatures in the Columbia River basin caused by climate change, but the draft Cold Water Refuge Plan by the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency is not expansive enough to protect those fish, many listed as threatened or endangered under the federal Endangered Species Act, and it lacks a sense of urgency.
Spawning of threatened Lower Columbia River chum salmon in the Ives/Pierce Island area downstream of Bonneville Dam area on the Columbia River’s north shore is nearing an end, prompting the interagency Technical Management Team this week to set a date to transition to incubation flows designed to protect the chum nests, or redds.
A large-scale and long-term monitoring of habitat restoration projects in the state of Washington found that the size and depth of pools created by the restoration projects failed to fully remain in place after year 10 at 23 monitored projects.