NOAA Will Mix Spills and Barges
by Rob Manning
Federal officials announced Monday that they'll follow outside scientific advice and spill scarce Columbia River over dams this summer, to help fish. Rob Manning reports.
It's expected to be a dry summer, so the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration initially favored barging fish, after May 1st, rather than spilling water for them.
NOAA said that would be better for threatened steelhead and Chinook salmon. But last week, a scientific panel criticized that approach.
Now NOAA wants to use a mix of spilling water over the dams and barging.
Glen Spain with the Pacific Coast Federation of Fishermen's Associations says the feds made the obvious call.
Glen Spain: "What's remarkable to me is that the administration thought of backing off the spill program at all. As a result, a lot of time was wasted, a lot of court time, particularly."
Fishing and environmental groups, the Nez Perce tribe, and the state of Oregon continue to litigate over salmon against the federal government and other Northwest states and tribes.
The fight over salmon, water, and dams in the Columbia and Snake Rivers may return to court next month - when an update is due from the Obama Administration.
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