In its first public workshop the Columbia Basin Collaborative this week outlined how the new group would be organized and how it would bring parties together to rebuild the region’s threatened and endangered salmon and steelhead stocks and advance the goals of the Columbia Basin Partnership Task Force.
A letter signed by 68 salmon and fisheries scientists summarizes actions they say are necessary to protect and restore abundant salmon and steelhead runs to the Columbia/Snake river basin. The letter is “intended to help inform regional and national leaders on the policies and actions necessary to restore to a healthy abundance salmon currently listed under the federal Endangered Species Act.”
Idaho Republican U.S. Rep. Mike Simpson’s $34 billion dollar proposed framework for breaching the four Lower Snake dams in 10 years to aid ailing Snake River salmon and steelhead, while mitigating for impacts to river users, elicited a degree of interest this week from two Northwest governors, support from tribes, and a range of reaction from key interests.
Five dams and reservoirs on the Columbia River in Washington State between McNary Dam and Chief Joseph Dam are being managed under a unique “No Net Impact” survival standard for salmon and steelhead.
Idaho Republican U.S. Rep. Mike Simpson has been discussing with regional parties a $32 billion “Columbia Basin Fund” to finance the breaching of the lower Snake River dams, new energy technologies to replace the lost hydropower, and compensation to communities and businesses that depend on the dams.
Fisheries managers are not happy about federal hydro managers’ decision to engage in “day load shaping operations” at Idaho’s Dworshak Dam last week, a practice that has not been implemented since 1986. The biologists say such operations negatively impact juvenile fall chinook, fisheries and river ecology.
The robust fishery science literature— beginning with the “Plan for Analyzing and Testing Hypothesis” (Marmorek et al.1998) in the 1990s and continuing to the 2020 report “Achieving Productivity to Recover and Restore Columbia River Stream-type Chinook Salmon (Petrosky et al. 2020)—documents the necessity to achieve an average 4% smolt-to-adult return (SAR) survival in order to recover Snake River (Idaho) salmon and steelhead.
A new report from Washington State’s Governor’s Salmon Recovery Office shows that most salmon populations in the state still are not making progress and some are teetering on the brink of extinction.
The Washington Department of Ecology is seeking comment on what should be considered when preparing an environmental impact statement for a new hydropower project proposed along the Columbia River in Klickitat County.