The state of Oregon, as well as nearly a dozen conservation and fishing groups, filed Friday in U.S. District Court in Portland a request for a preliminary injunction that, if granted, would significantly increase spill next year at lower Columbia and Snake river dams and lower the operating pools behind the dams. The measures are intended to aid juvenile and adult salmon and steelhead migrating in the river.
U.S. District Court Judge Marco Hernandez Wednesday outlined in a draft order Wednesday actions that the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers must take to protect threatened wild spring chinook and winter steelhead at its Willamette Valley dams. The case has been in the courts for three years.
The U.S. District Court for the Western District of Washington last week approved the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency’s proposal to reevaluate the Trump administration’s rollback of Washington state water quality standards developed to protect people from toxic pollution.
The Washington State Pollution Control Hearings Board this week announced it intends to reject the Army Corps of Engineers’ challenge to the state’s Clean Water Act certifications requiring temperature limits for Columbia/Snake River dams and reservoirs to protect salmon and steelhead.
Defendants in the latest challenge to the Columbia/Snake River biological opinion for salmon and steelhead and final environmental impact statement have questioned the cross-claims of the Columbia-Snake River Irrigators Association, saying the irrigators lack jurisdiction.
Seven conservation groups filed April 14 in Multnomah County Circuit Court a petition seeking to stop logging by Oregon Department of Forestry contractors of trees burned in wildfires last summer in the Santiam River watershed in Oregon. The logging is in process.
A federal judge in Oregon has set a schedule for future litigation proceedings in the eighth challenge since 2001 to the federal biological opinion for threatened and endangered Columbia River basin salmon and steelhead. Activity begins this month and extends out to at least August 2022 when final summary judgement briefs are due to the court.
The eighth battle of the BiOp has been underway in federal court since mid-January and two groups are joining in on the debate, one to join as an intervenor plaintiff and one to throw the entire lawsuit out.
Conservation groups have filed the opening complaint against the Columbia River System Operations 2020 Environmental Impact Statement and Biological Opinion for salmon and steelhead, kicking off yet another round of litigation over the federal approach to recovering these fish listed under the Endangered Species Act. The opening salvo shows breaching Lower Snake River dams will be a central issue in the coming courtroom battles.