Conservation groups this week filed in King County Superior Court a challenge to Washington’s changes to its hatchery reform policy and efforts to increase hatchery production of chinook and coho salmon at Puget Sound and Columbia River hatcheries to increase the food supply for Southern resident killer whales, listed as endangered in 2005.
A request for a preliminary injunction to increase spill next year at lower Columbia and Snake river dams, as well as to lower operating pools behind the dams to aid migrating juvenile and adult salmon and steelhead, took one more step forward in federal court.
The U.S. Environmental Protection Agency is rescinding a guidance document entitled “Applying the Supreme Court’s County of Maui v. Hawaii Wildlife Fund Decision in the Clean Water Act Section 402 National Pollutant Discharge Elimination System Permit Program” that was issued by the Trump administration in January, 2021. With this action, EPA says it is preserving longstanding clean water protections.
A settlement was reached this week that requires the state of Oregon to develop a plan to limit methylmercury pollution and accelerate remediation of water temperature impacts at the Hells Canyon Complex of dams on the Snake River.
A final order by U.S. District Court Judge Marco Hernandez this week described in detail the interim actions that the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers must take at its 13 Willamette Valley Project dams to protect threatened wild spring chinook and winter steelhead.
Federal storage dams in the Willamette River basin are at an average of just 37 percent of capacity, hit hard this year by drought. Overall, they should be at nearly twice that – 68 percent capacity. And there is little in the weather forecast that will change that over the next few weeks.
The U.S. Environmental Protection Agency was sued in the U.S. Ninth Circuit Court of Appeals this week for what the lawsuit alleges is a failure to respond to a petition seeking to remove Washington State’s authority to issue discharge permits under the Clean Water Act. The 2017 petition took aim at permits issued by the Washington Department of Ecology for sewage treatment plants that discharge nitrogen to Puget Sound without the required permit limits.
The development of water pollution clean-up plans in Oregon has been at a complete standstill for over a decade, while the number of its waters with unsafe levels of pollution increases, alleges a lawsuit filed this week against the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency.
The Center for Biological Diversity is calling on the Biden Administration to engage in Endangered Species Act consultations on the impacts of the America’s Marine Highway Program on protected species, including salmon and steelhead in the Columbia and Snake rivers.