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Governor Signs Fish Deal

by Kathleen O'Neil
Idaho Falls Post Register, October 14, 2003

Idaho Gov. Dirk Kempthorne signed an agreement Wednesday among federal, tribal and private partners that will help protect fish from being harmed by irrigation systems.

The agreement, arranged by the state Office of Species Conservation, protects landowners and irrigators in the Upper Salmon River Basin from being prosecuted under the Endangered Special Act for accidental fish kills when they agree to help protect endangered native fish.

Although it's not a part of the talks between Sen. Mike Crapo, R-Idaho, and environmental groups, this agreement merges with it nicely, Kempthorne spokesman Mike Journee said.

"Sen. Crapo and the governor think alike that it's going to take a partnership with the members, rather than an adversarial relationship, to get a serious change in conservation efforts," he said.

Participants in the program will improve fish habitat and improve their irrigation systems to help keep fish from getting trapped. It will run through 2004. A similar program was put in place for the Lemhi River in 2001.

The program, designed to protect species such as bull trout, steelhead and salmon, is being funded by the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency, the state of Idaho and landowners, Journee said.

by Kathleen O'Neil, Energy and environment reporter
Governor Signs Fish Deal
Post Register, October 14, 2003

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