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Here are several stories on the Obama salmon plan for the Columbia - Snake River systems. 1st is a cut-n-paste from Public News Service - OR. Second is the AP story from the Dallas Morning News, and last is a link to Osprey steelhead news.

New lipstick - same old pig.:beathead:

Osprey Steelhead News: http://ospreysteelheadnews.blogspot.com/

Public News Service-OR

May 21, 2010

NW Salmon Battle Doesn't Bode Well for Other Endangered Species
PORTLAND, Ore. - It is Endangered Species Day and advocates for native Northwest salmon say the timing is ironic. On Thursday, the federal government submitted what it calls a "legally and scientifically sound" Biological Opinion (BiOp); a plan to protect endangered wild fish. Groups that have already challenged the previous BiOps in court say this one is not much better. In their view, the feds have ignored some studies in favor of others, and failed to take climate change into account.

Jim Martin, former chief of fisheries for the Oregon Fish and Wildlife Department, says he's disappointed in the new plan.

"I see this BiOp as largely trying to protect cheap power rates and keep the status quo in place. I think Judge Redden will see it the same way, and I think Judge Redden will end up ordering strengthening to this BiOp that is desperately needed."

The NOAA National Marine Fisheries Service, the federal agency that wrote the BiOp, will submit it to Judge James Redden in federal court in Portland, along with all the documentation they used to create it. It is up to Redden to rule on whether the plan does enough to improve native salmon numbers.

Brock Evans, president of the Endangered Species Coalition, says his group is concerned, not only about salmon, but other threatened species, if the salmon BiOp is an indication of how the feds will handle controversy.

"When the new administration came in, it said, 'We're gonna do real science this time and we're gonna prevent extinction,' and it's not coming out that way. It's more of the same, 'Oh, we're gonna work with this group,' or 'We're gonna study that.' At best, it's just sort-of marking time and not doing much at all."

NOAA says there have been only "modest changes" in the science, and that those are reflected in the new plan. It also says more than 9,600 miles of wetlands habitat have been protected in the past year, and that more are expected. Critics of the plan say that's important, but the fish are still having a tough time migrating through the system of dams.

The BiOp is is available at www.salmonrecovery.gov <http://www.salmonrecovery.gov> <http://www.salmonrecovery.gov> .

AP story:

Dallas Morning News

May. 20, 2010 9:27 PM ET
PORTLAND, Ore. (AP) - The Obama administration has made no major changes to a plan to protect endangered wild salmon runs in the Columbia River Basin, dismaying salmon advocates who say they expected more.

The government on Thursday submitted revisions for a 2008 Bush-era biological plan to U.S. District Judge James Redden in Portland.

Redden said in February that the plan likely violated the Endangered Species Act, but he gave the government three months to review new science that might strengthen it.

The National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration recommendations include studying salmon migration, monitoring water temperatures and other effects of climate change, and creating a team of fisheries managers to resolve potential harm to wild salmon runs by hatchery fish.

"After we reviewed all the information we've accumulated over the last three months, only modest changes were necessary," said Bruce Suzumoto, NOAA Fisheries assistant regional administrator for hydropower. "The actions are more along the lines of study, research."

Proponents of the government's plan urged court approval to end years of fighting over salmon recovery.

"It is time for the federal court to approve this plan and for the region to begin the process of implementation," said a statement from Scott Corwin, executive director of the Public Power Council.

Redden twice before had found that federal plans to balance cheap hydroelectric power against the survival of wild salmon violated the Endangered Species Act.

In sending the plan back to the government in February, Redden had warned that he would view with "heightened skepticism" efforts to deal with the issues superficially.

Opponents said the government's revisions did little to make hydroelectric dams safer for the Columbia Basin's 13 endangered salmon and steelhead runs.

"These guys came out with Band-Aids when we're hemorrhaging from a major artery," said Nicole Cordan, policy and legal director for Save Our Wild Salmon. "These are species that are already imperiled, and they're saying, 'We're going to do less for them.'"

Michael Carrier, natural resources policy director for Oregon Gov. Ted Kulongoski, said he was disappointed in the revised plan - and that federal officials didn't collaborate with other governments, tribes and groups involved with salmon restoration.

Salmon advocates had urged the government to at least begin planning the controversial removal of four dams on the Snake River, and allow for spillage - that is, allow water to flow over dams to help salmon and steelhead smolts headed out to sea.

"Any fish living above the dams are ESA listed, and that isn't going to change with a tweak here and a twist there," said Glen Spain, northwest representative of the Pacific Coast Federation of Fishermen's Associations, which represents commercial fishermen. "It's disappointing to see them do little or nothing and dance around the big issues once again."

With the revisions, Redden could issue an order or invite further review.

Opponents said they likely would fight the government's plan if Redden approves it.

Associated Press
Copyright 2010 The Associated Press. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.
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