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U.S. gets 'F' on salmon restoration in Northwest
Efforts in Columbia and Snake lack commitment, group says

By CHARLES POPE
SEATTLE POST-INTELLIGENCER WASHINGTON CORRESPONDENT

WASHINGTON -- The government's efforts to pull salmon back from the brink of extinction in the Columbia and Snake rivers are beset by shortages of money and desire, an environmental group concluded yesterday in its annual review of a 10-year campaign to save the Northwest's most recognizable fish.

The analysis by the Save Our Wild Salmon Coalition gave the Bush administration an "F" for its performance last year in meeting requirements set out by the ambitious salmon restoration plan. It marked the second year in a row the government earned a failing grade.

In a separate report, the National Wildlife Federation called the salmon effort in the Columbia and Snake rivers "a parade of half-steps and squandered possibilities."

In particular, the federation criticized the practice of barging salmon around dams that block their path to the ocean and to spawning grounds. Barging is a key component of the restoration plan's attempt to allow fish to travel without removing dams.

The federation, however, said it isn't working.

"Salmon barging has proven to be a failure for the fish and for taxpayers," the report said. "The solution to a lethal, degraded river is not to take the salmon out of the river and drive them to the ocean; it is to restore the river. If the dams are breached, salmon will return, fisheries will revive and jobs will follow."

In its report, the Save Our Wild Salmon coalition charged the administration with providing only half the money needed to fulfill the requirements and completing only 27 percent of the milestones.

It said the government did not maintain water temperature and quality as required and failed to restore habitat as required.

"The failures border on a tacit decision (by the Bush administration) to ignore the mandates of the biological plan," said Bruce Babbitt, the former Interior secretary in the Clinton administration who "reluctantly" approved the plan in 2000.

The plan laid out a complicated and costly blueprint for improving habitat, managing dams, controlling water temperature and quality and a host of other steps that collectively would allow the return of bountiful populations of salmon and steelhead.

The plan was conceived as an alternative to removing four dams on the Snake River that most environmental groups and many scientists said was the best and most certain way to bring the salmon back.

"We are in the third year of a 10-year plan, but in reality we're in the 11th hour," Babbitt said as he presented the group's report.

Babbitt said the Bush administration must intensify its effort and accelerate the pace of the plan if it has any chance of realizing its goal.

When he approved the plan, Babbitt said he accepted the word of federal biologists who told him "a major, sustained and unrelenting effort over a 10-year period" would bring the salmon back without breaching the dams.

"We're almost one-third of the way through and the lack of commitment is extremely disappointing," he said.

One federal official responsible for overseeing the salmon effort took issue with the group's analysis, saying much of the work is on track and that the complex mix of science and competing demands requires a longer view.

"It feels a little unfair to be getting final grades before the midterm is rendered," said Bob Lohn, who manages much of the salmon plan as Northwest administrator for NOAA Fisheries, the agency formerly named the National Marine Fisheries Service.

"I believe we are making generally good progress," he said.

For example, Lohn said the criticism of underfinancing the effort is based on soft estimates that were made before a more detailed estimate could be computed based on actual conditions on the ground. That analysis is nearly finished, he said.

According to Save Our Wild Salmon, the program requires $900 million a year and only half of that total has been provided.

"After two years and more than $1 billion spent, we see little return on the investment," the report says. "Given the Bush administration's recent decision to reduce 2003 salmon funding outright, the pattern seems unlikely to change."

Babbitt and other critics said they still believe removing the dams is the best approach even though President Bush has emphatically ruled that out.

That leaves legal action as a potential alternative if progress isn't made in the river basin.

"At what point does failure to comply constitute a violation of the Endangered Species Act?" Babbitt asked. "I'm not in the business of soliciting lawsuits, for the most part, but it's a real issue."

Justin Gould, chairman of the Columbia River Intertribal Commission, also threatened to consider a lawsuit if the administration does not improve.

Gould, a member of Nez Perce tribe, said the report card "exposes the Bush administration's fundamental lack of commitment to Indian tribes in the Columbia River Basin. We've watched the best science become compromised by politics and powerful agencies railroad the best efforts at coordination."

The salmon plan is also under assault from budget watchdogs.

"The federal government has spent almost a billion dollars on the salmon recovery plan with virtually nothing to show for it," said Autumn Hanna, senior policy analyst for Taxpayers for Common Sense.

"Two years ago, federal taxpayers made a commitment to invest in this plan, and time is running out. We need to see a little bang for our buck."

The clearest indication of how well -- or how bad -- the plan is performing will come in September. Under the salmon blueprint, formal progress reports must be submitted in 2003, 2005 and 2008.

These reports, written by the federal agencies involved, are considered a key gauge of the salmon recovery effort.
 

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"Yes, I'm kidding. I didn't vote for that monkey."
Well said ******, cracked me up, but what really scares me is the strong possibility that he will be re-elected if Leiberman is his opposition, and we will be stuck with the monkey for another four.

Anyway, you can send a quick pre-written letter to your appropriate congressman regarding the federal salmon plan by using this link:

http://ga0.org/campaign/planning_act_save_wild_salmon/w5kiug4v783nmb

Pete
 

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If Bush gets re-elected(which I doubt), I'm moving to either New Zealand or Argentina. Thanks for the link, I will send a letter to the my congressman today. And for the record, I'm voting for Nader. YT :smokin
 

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Not Nader, please, pretty please! If all the Nader votes in Florida had been cast for Gore, Bush would still be in Texas playing cowboy.
While the drums of war pound, the wetlands are being drained, the rivers divirted to farms, the forests sold to private interests, public land being sold for a song, wilderness being exploited, etc. Explain this to Nader fans in Florida would you please?:beathead
 

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Not Quite A Luddite, But Can See One From Here
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RiverFishing

This has been an interesting week on the ol' flyfishing website, hasn't it? Thanks to all who have weighed in on everything from the "discredited" zero population growth concept to sly suggestions about being overrun by darker-skinned peoples to implicating indigenuous Americans for the decimation of our salmonid fish populations.
I thought I enjoyed looking forward to the morning editorial pages, but this group is at least as eloquent and diverse. God (whomever you conceive he/she/it to be) bless you all!

But hey (respectfully spoken...) let's not twist history by somehow blaming those who voted their convictions anywhere, much less in Florida, for the current political landscape, however messy you see it.
I voted for Nader myself. I don't suspect most of you care why, and it doesn't matter anyway, but I did so fully cognizant (per the politicos) that I might be "throwing the election to Bush."
Do I feel one bit guilty...in spite of my personal revulsion for Bush? Not a bit. Gore IMHO offered little different than Bush in the way of policy ideas and was as eager as Bush to keep the campaign focused on everything bu the real issues. In the last few weeks, as he realized he was pissing away (oops...blowing) the election, all it seemed he could do was ry to shame the "Naderites" by suggesting that they were the worst of all Americans for considering a vote for something other than the same two-party, special interest, multi-national, greedy "business as usual." Democrats or Republicans, it's only a matter of degree. Of course this is just my opinion.
Thanks for letting me speak my own little piece. No disrespect is intended for anyone, and I'm willing to be taken to the verbal woodshed like everyone else.
You know, I've heard it was like this back in the old days down at the town square or the corner drug counter...you know, folks coming together to talk about the issues. I don't think in most cases that anyone ever got punched out, and they stayed friends and neighbors in spite of the differences. Maybe this is just the virtual version of an old American tradition.
I like that idea...and don't forget to throw in a few fishin' tidbits now and then for us "newbies."
And if y'all ever need a loan of some jumper cables or someone to feed the dog, or a hand gettin' in the hay, give us a holler.
Is this a great country or what?

Mike :thumb

PS to those who just looked at all the bales lying out there on the south forty...did I tell you about my bad back?
 

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Tom Van Gelder
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1.I remember a lot of people in the news making statements like that prior to the elections. Strange how I have not heard of any of them moving.
2. I did vote for Bush, I do not agree with all of his ideas but felt he was way better than the any of the other options. That is the nice think about our country we can not only vote our beliefs but also speak them freely.
3. As for the F on salmon, if I remember right the stupid idea of transporting fish came a long time prior to Bush coming into the picture. Like the article says we are just starting year three of a ten-year plan, if you are not happy with the way it is going contact your elected official, congress not the president allocates the money.
 

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You are right, the Bush administration has done a good job; at repealing everything the Clinton administration accomplished in 8 years.

1)roadless act,which means building more logging roads, which means more silt in our reivers, which means suffocation for salmon and trout eggs.

2)"According to congressional budget office, elimating money losing timber sales in national forests would save taxpayers 1.6 billion dollars over the next ten years."

3)subsidize strip mining for coal and other fossil fuels which have been proven to emmit radioactive particles, degrade air quality by emmitting large amounts of Carbon Dioxide. Not to mention the use of cyanide in the process that has been used to extract gold,silver and other metals. Thus getting into our fabled rivers killing fish--- The Battle to save the Blackfoot come to mind?

4)propsed drilling in the Arctic wildlife refuge, which hold enough oil to supply the U.S for 6-10 months(real smart)!

5)Economy hmmmm, give tax breaks to the rich, starve out the poor, cut education and social services, go deeper into federal debt for war, and oil exploration (even though there is only enough oil in the world to sustain us for the next 50 years.

6) I voted for Gore-- and will vote for anyone but Bush!!!!!!!!!

Mcronariver
 

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I voted for Bush and will agin

1( the roadless act was pushed through by the 20 billon dollar a year enviromental movement from both the east and west coast that do not give a damn how people in western states make a living. If they would have been included, something could have been worked out so that both the wilderness and the people living there would benefit, but the enviromental movement, in cahoots with the Clinton Administration jammed it down people's throat with very little imput from the people who it would impact the most. Should people in Montana,and other western states, starve so it can be your playground? 2)Losing money on timber sales has been going on for too long,but to blame it just on Bush is moronic.3) As a nation we need more fuel. What the hell do you think moves goods so we can provide jobs for people. I agree that we need to look at other fuel sources,but until we have a viable source, oil is what makes us go. I noticed Bush is going to raise the Cafe standards and is going to pour money into fuel cell technology. As for the Blackfoot your ignorance is amazing. That has nothing to do with Bush and is an issue that goes back at least 6 years. The folks in Montana(including Republicans) passed a law that outlaws cyanide leach mining, which is what some people what to do right above Lincoln, Montana. The people there are against and so is just about everyone else in that area. There will be some serious civil disobidence if it is tried. The Blackfoot River is a prime example of cooperation. With the help of ranchers,loggers and fishermen over 300 miles of tributaries were repaired with ground cover,stablization of river banks,and cattle were fenced off,so they can not do any damage. It was a win win situation: people who earn a living off the land still can, and people who depend on tourism and fishing thrive. Also, Many ranchers in the area have allowed public access area so you and I can fish the river.It is the way more environmental problems can be solved, if everyone concerned is given a place at the table, which DID NOT happen with the Wilderness Act 4) Drilling in the Arctic refuge. Why not? the foot print would only use 3000 acres. Oil can be extracted without serious environmental damage. They do not have to be mutually exclusive. Also the native people of that area want to do it.5) Tax breaks for the rich. In our tax code anyone making over $90,000 is rich. A firemen and school teacher in New York make that much. Are they the rich? Also, you folks who live in Seattle, and up north that are making that much, are you rich? With home prices up there I imagine that you need to make that much so you can afford to own a home. As for one of the comments about Bush planning for a war against Iraq, I hope he follows through. Hussien has started wars that have killed over a millon people,and he has murdered hundreds of thousand of his own people. I think he is involved with Bin Laden and his ilk, and believe that he will try to give them weapons of mass destruction that can be used to kill as many Americans as possible which could include everyone on this board. Has everyone forgotten 9-11 already? How much environmental damage would a "Dirty bomb"do? Finally, the group who issued this report are not exactly objective. I would like to see a full report on what they want done in order to earn an A grade. One thing they want done is to tear out the dams on the Columbia River which would have a huge impact on energy prices and the Agricultural business in Eastern Washington. Can we save wild salmon and use the Columbia River for Human uses? I believe it can be done,if everyone is willing to give a little,but they should be honest about the cost of what they hope to accomplish.
 

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Counterpoints

1. Roadless act went through a public comment period in which the response was overwhelmingly in favor of it. Who is it that is going against the will of the public?
2. I didn't see the previous post as assigning blame to Bush but I'll let you clarify how you came to that conclusion. That said, timber policy should be changed so that the public/govt does not bear the cost poor management.
3. "Your ignorance is amazing" does not win points on a debate. I'll give you credit on your interpretation of what happened on the Blackfoot but much of it would not have happened with out the likes of "radical" environmental organizations like TU.
4. Not just 3000 acres--that's just the drilling footprint. You ignored or failed to include the roads and supporting infrastructure which has as a large, if not larger impact.
5. How much do schoolteachers in Washington make? I'll leave your rant on Iraq, dirty bombs, etc. alone. On the point Eastern WA agribusiness benefiting from what is in effect, a subsidy that has the countereffect of destroying salmon runs at the expense of commercial fishermen, I think you need to look at both sides of the economic picture.

Finally, try not to make what amounts to personal attacks in responding to a perspective you don't agree with.
 

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No disrespect intended to you, Mike, or any of your fellow Naderites, but you are living in a fantasy if you think that voting for Nader and throwing the election to Bush was a better thing for the environment than if Gore had been elected. I hope you'll all come to your senses in '04. ;)
 

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As this thread turns into polical tyrades, I feel I must clarify what I wrote. I did NOT vote for Nader in 2000. I do NOT like our current president. However, I do support our troops where ever in the world they might be. They are just doing there job, and a good job at that. I do NOT consider myself a Repub or a Demo, I am a realist. I belong to the political party of YT, I vote with a conscience and respect all views other than my own. That being said, it's hard to agree with Bush on the environment as it affects ME and my world(your world too). We can't go back, we can only look ahead, and I for one will do whatever it takes to preserve what we have left. Peace! YT:smokin
 

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Formerly Tight Loops
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I voted for Nader in 2000, as it was the dweeb versus the idiot. I resigned from the Dems and am now 100% Green Party, as we need a third party in this country to help breakdown the BS that we have currently had. Clinton was supposed to be a good president, but look at the lame-o that he turned into.

And for the record, Bush stole the election, is a puppet of the right-wing, and is the biggest idiot we have had as a president in a long time.

If the people re-elect him in 2004, then we need to be abused for another 4 years, as the American people are too stupid for their own good.
 

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Counterpoints

You mad some good points,but missed or ignored what I was saying. The Roadless Act was pushed through by large environmental groups who membership does not live in that states that were impacted the most by this law. Sure you can say that people supported the bill . These same people did not have a " dawg in the fight". It is easy to support it if you are living in Seattle, because it will not cost you your job,but if you live in places like Montana it has a huge impact on the economy, and will cost many people their jobs. Would it hurt to consider that impact? Trout unlimted did a very good job on the Blackfoot,but the they were only one part of it. As for debating you are right about my comment "ignorance is amazing" was a bit harsh. It is like calling my comments on Iraq a rant. You are being a hypocrite on that point. The drilling in Alaska, will be very tiny part of the reserve. It has and can be done with a minimum amount of damage. As for the Agribusiness in this state, in contributes alot more to the economy then commercial fishing. The Agribusiness has been in this state for along time,and for a good part of it the Salmon runs were doing well. There are many factors impacting salmon, and tearing down the dams on the Columbia is not going to be that the total solution As for personnel attacks, I think you should follow you own advice
 

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Not Quite A Luddite, But Can See One From Here
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RiverFishing

No disrespect heard. And I didn't mean to suggest that voting for Nader amounted to handing the election to Bush. I didn't cast my vote with that intent - otherwise I'd have saved myself the trouble and voted for Bush.
(and out of respect for the folks who support Bush, I won't even go THERE.)
I do agree that a Gore presidency would have been more environmentally conscientious than what we've seen so far.

If anything, I suggested that had Gore taken some more meaningful positions (and I personally feel he was handcuffed by his party whose leaders are as beholden to corporate interests as the Republicans) he would have given the voters a clear choice. I also have to admit that Gore was so badly poisoned by his association with the Clinton administration that maybe no one in his position could have overcome that. And he was caught in so much of the campaign fund-raising stuff...whew...a lot of baggage to overcome
Anyway, thanks for your response. This subject sure raised some "hackles," didn't it?
Can I use "hackles" in the figurative sense on this website?

Peace and Tight lines,

Mike :thumb
 

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"If the people re-elect him in 2004, then we need to be abused for another 4 years, as the American people are too stupid for their own good."

Tight Loops, the problem with that logic is that it's generally people who DON'T vote for Bush, not to mention the environment, that are going to be abused. And while one might say that Bush stole the election, it is much more easily and objectively observed that he was elected because too many people in a handful of pivotal states that Bush won voted for Nader. I wish I could admire your commitment to principles (particularly because I bet our views on many things are pretty well aligned), but unfortunately if you vote for Nader you not only are tilting at windmills but also can never hope to accomplish anything other than electing candidates whose views are totally antithetical to yours (with the possible exception of very localized elections). I'm not willing to watch the world burn just so I can vote my principles.
 

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Well... Bush didn't steal the election. Last I heard, we don't have direct popular election of our president and he did happen to win the neccessary number of electoral votes to win the office.

Interestingly (or uninterestingly) enough, I just completed my senior paper on this subject- Third party politics in the United States. While I do not believe that multiparty politics would be very healthy in the US, third parties do provide a method of voicing dissent and a negative vote towards our two major parties. As dissent grows, the two major parties will change to suit the voters and steal the thunder from the third parties by incorporating their attractive ideas in to their platforms, which will bring people back in to the fold.

Two party politics is apart of our nature in this country... The structural contrants alone makes it highly unlikely that a third party will ever have a lasting presence at the federal level.

IMO, the problem in 2000 was that the Democratic party was lost in a sea of mixed ideology. Too many vocal factions and no one set direction, they could not win the hearts and minds of the people with "It's the economy, stupid, part 2."
 

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I voted for Bush and will agin

Dear Mr.Canedawg,

I will disregard your derogatory comments, which you referred to me as: "moronic" and "ignorant."

I have disagreed with some posts here in the forum, but I have always respected the opinions of others. Unfortunately you have failed to do so and you yourself seem to have preconceived misconceptions,

1)you have concluded that that the National forest is "my" plaground, the national forest belongs to the public. And when the public does not like the way it is being abused then we can write our reprsentatives and Senators such as Maria Cantwell and have a voice.

2)I am all for sustainable forests, I have worked in the woods for much of my life. I also use timber products, thus being a carpenter by trade. Forests need to be "managed" properly. I have seen the devastation with my own eyes, all you have to do is drive to the upper Puyallup River--clear cuts to rivers edge.

3)Have you ever heard of the dislocated worker program? I think you should do a little more research before you say, "people are starving to death" because they cannot build roads--Nobody should starve to death in the richest country in the world.
4)As far as the Blackfoot is concerned, (I made a generalization). I am aware citizens had voted against the use of cyanide a few yeas ago and I understand that it takes a wide array of citizens to vote for clean watersheds. I am not sure why the Clark fork has four superfund sites though? Thanks for your input.

5) Here are a few details you failed to include about the ARCTIC WILDLIFE REFUGE: The Department of Interior states ther is only a 19%chance of recovering an amount of oil the U.S consumes in 7-24months
--Between 1996-99 there have been 400 oil spills in AK's Prudhoe Bay (really safe).
--the Department of the Interior in 1995, that long lasting ecological harm would result from drilling in the refuges fragile tundra system.
--Improving fuel efficiency is a much faster and cleaner way to save oil.
6) Thanks for including me in "your tax bracket" I do not make $90,000 a year, try $12,000 pal! I work for the state and I do not know of any teachers let alone Proffessors that make that amount(of course you are reffering to new York)?
---It seems to be your arbitrary standard of living so to answer your question< yes someone who makes $90,000 a year is rich compared to a poor fly-bum like me!

7)You have also eluded to the misconception that, (us "Seattle and Up North people", I assume you are reffering to Bellingham where I live)have to make $90,000 to buy a house --again untrue and please drop the "locals only" attitude, whenever you leave wherever it is you live
youare just another dog on the street brother.

8) Remember 911? yeah!! How can anyone forget and I am sure there are probably people on this website who have lost people close to them.
--from a humanitarian view point--why would I want to see people in Iraq go through the same horrror the people in those towers went through?

thanks for your opinion,
Mcronariver
 
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