There is plenty of habitat available for reintroduction of spawning and rearing anadromous salmon and steelhead upstream of Chief Joseph and Grand Coulee dams, according to a recently completed report by upper Columbia River tribes.
Responding to the reasonable and prudent alternative outlined in NOAA Fisheries’ 2008 biological opinion for federal Willamette Valley dams, the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers last week proposed to build a selective withdrawal structure at Detroit Dam at a cost of about $100 to $200 million.The SWS would provide water temperature control downstream of Detroit and Big Cliff dams on the North Santiam River and it would provide downstream juvenile fish passage. The Corps would continue to transport adult chinook salmon and steelhead upstream of both dams where they can spawn naturally.
The number of upriver spring chinook forecasted to return to the Columbia River in what was already set to be a poor year dropped by 25 percent this week.
Although the abundance of adult white sturgeon in the lower Columbia River is above conservation status as set by a joint Washington/Oregon sturgeon management and conservation plan, the fish have yet to reach desired status abundance levels, a higher number also set by the plan.
Cooke Aquaculture will pay the full $332,000 penalty to the Washington Department of Ecology for the collapse of its floating pen near Cypress Island that released 250,000 non-native fish into Puget Sound, said the agency.
The states of Oregon and Idaho this week announced a settlement agreement regarding the operation of the Hells Canyon Complex on the Snake River that is intended to benefit water quality, habitat, and Columbia/Snake river basin fish.
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.
After a decade without a permit, NOAA Fisheries approved the state of Idaho’s Fisheries Management Plan, a move that is allowing anglers in the state to continue fishing for steelhead in some rivers.