ID Salmon Workgroup Ends, Considered 'Stepping Stone' Toward Recovery
Wednesday, December 23, 2020
BOISE, Idaho - A group convened by Gov. Brad Little to address the dire situation for salmon and steelhead numbers has finalized its recommendations and should release a final report next month.
The Salmon Workgroup, established in April 2019, is made up of conservation groups and representatives of tribes and local industries.
Brian Brooks, executive director of the Idaho Wildlife Federation, said the diverse group aimed for "low-hanging fruit," since it needed consensus on its recommendations.
"The recommendations we did come up with, they will move the needle," he said. "They will help fish. Unfortunately, they will not get us to those levels of abundance that Idahoans want."
Conservation groups say one notable issue that isn't part of the final report is the detrimental effects of the four lower Snake River dams on fish populations. Along with being a controversial issue, dam breaching wasn't included because these dams aren't located in Idaho. However, most of the public comments to the group also suggested removing the dams.
Aaron Lieberman, executive director of the Idaho Outfitters and Guides Association, agreed that dam removal is the best bet for salmon. He said the workgroup recognizes that its report isn't a recovery plan, and more needs to be done regionally to restore the fish. But he added that he believes the group is a firm stepping stone.
"Even though we couldn't come to consensus around some more important areas, to my view, we did so in good faith," he said. "And I think we each developed a degree of trust - within the state and within different affected or potentially impacted industries and communities - that sets us up well as a state."
Brooks said one of the workgroup's greatest achievements is establishing that Idahoans want more than just seeing salmon and steelhead removed from the list of endangered species. They want the fish species back in abundance - and they want a new vision for how to get there.
"We want economically and culturally viable returns back to Idaho, and that was really great to see these diverse interests around the state really come together and support those levels of returns," he said. "That's what Idahoans want - and that was one of the victories, I think, of this report."
In October, the governors of Idaho, Montana, Oregon and Washington signed an agreement to work together on recovery of salmon and steelhead in the region.
get more stories like this via email
DENVER - On Wednesday, leaders from Colorado's 13 community colleges joined a national effort to help more of the state's adults get credentials and …
LAS VEGAS, Nev. -- Today, a virtual summit hosted by the Las Vegas Mayor's Faith Initiative looks at the crisis of missing and murdered Indigenous …
HOUSTON -- Many U.S. communities with bustling downtowns were better prepared to weather economic fallout from the pandemic, thanks to a decades-old …
MILWAUKEE, Wis. -- A Wisconsin group that advocates for working families is launching a new campaign, which connects federal policy to the …
SEATTLE - Constructive conversations online can seem few and far between. Research from the University of Washington explores how the design of …
Health and Wellness
WATERLOO, Iowa -- Advocates for Iowans with disabilities are sounding the alarm over what they describe as a caregiver crisis, pleading with …
BRAINERD, Minn. - Minnesota boat owners are storing their watercraft for the winter. But that isn't stopping the conversation about responsible water …
BOISE, Idaho - Millions of members around the world, including some Idahoans, are observing International Credit Union Day today. This year marks 73…