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“New” Federal Salmon Plan Looks Familiar

September 7, 2007

Boise, ID – Federal agencies have released their latest plan to save endangered salmon in Idaho, a plan they were required by a federal judge to write. Bill Sedivy, with Idaho Rivers United, says the list of actions to restore river health and fish populations includes barging fish around dams and controlling river flows to benefit fish migration. And, while he says those are pretty good ideas, they're the same ones from the previous plan -- and even plans before that.

"They've maybe wrapped it in prettier bows, but it's the same old stuff that's been tried and has failed."

A judge required the new plan because the old one didn't consider all the science on the topic, which includes an option to remove four dams on the Lower Snake River. Sedivy says the "new" plan also fails to include that option. He predicts, if the plan is adopted by the agency in charge of fish, another lawsuit is likely.

Removing dams is a controversial topic. Those who oppose it say it would harm hydropower generation and agriculture. Sedivy counters that opponents seem to almost be denying that Idaho salmon are on the federal Endangered Species List.

"I don't know how they can continue to do that. We had four sockeye return to Redfish Lake this year, just four, where thousands once returned to spawn."

It's now up to the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA) to adopt or reject the plan.

Deborah Smith/Craig Eicher, Public News Service - ID