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PNS Daily Newscast - September 26, 2018 


Trump takes the gloves off versus Kavanaugh accusers. Also on the Wednesday rundown: rural areas reap benefits from Medicaid expansion; a two-generation approach to helping young Louisiana parents; and a new documentary on the impact of climate change in North Carolina.

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Salmon Swim Upstream in New River – of Cash

April 7, 2008

Portland, OR – The Bonneville Power Administration (BPA) is offering Native American tribes a windfall, but at what cost to the salmon population? BPA says it will give the tribes almost $1 billion, paid out over 10 years, if they will stop challenging the federal salmon management plan, known as a "Biological Opinion."

It means the tribes will have to back down on some of their long-held views about saving the endangered fish, in order to publicly support the federal plan. Three tribes reportedly are accepting the deal. Bill Shake, a former U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service assistant regional director, is surprised. He thinks it's an expensive way for BPA to maintain the status quo.

"The $1 billion that would go to the tribes would provide useful benefits, but we'd still have the same Biological Opinion, the same in-stream issue with downstream migration of juvenile salmon. If they can't survive, habitat restoration may be in vain."

Three of the four Lower Columbia Treaty tribes -- the Umatilla, Warm Springs, and Yakama tribal organizations -- are in favor of the deal; the Nez Perce Tribe has yet to decide. The tribes would use the additional funds to improve fish habitat and hatchery programs.

Shake notes that, as recently as January, the same tribes put their criticisms of the BiOp in writing, including insisting that more water be released over Columbia and Snake River dams, to help fish navigate them.

"They're pretty strongly worded comments. They don't believe that the measures, particularly with flow and spill, are adequate to provide benefits for salmon and steelhead."

A federal judge ruled the previous BiOp draft didn't do enough to save salmon, and a new plan will be released in about a month.

Chris Thomas, Public News Service - OR