Loading ...
Sorry, an error occurred while loading the content.

1U.S. Rules Out Dam Removal for Salmon Recovery

Expand Messages
  • Elden Wayne Hawkes Junior
    Dec 2, 2004
      U.S. Rules Out Dam Removal for Salmon Recovery

      Wed Dec 1,10:40 PM ET

      Add to My Yahoo! Science - Reuters

      ASHLAND, Ore. (Reuters) - A Bush administration decision to eliminate
      the possibility of removing dams to save endangered U.S. Pacific
      Northwest salmon species is a huge blow to protection efforts, an
      environmental group said on Wednesday.

      Photo
      AP Photo


      Missed Tech Tuesday?
      How to choose the right digital camera, plus the best printers and
      online photo services.



      "The decision is a giant setback, essentially it is a plan for
      extinction," said Todd True, an attorney for the EarthJustice law firm.

      The National Oceanographic and Atmospheric Administration on Tuesday
      found that hydroelectric dams on the Columbia and Lower Snake rivers
      were built before a dozen salmon species were listed under the
      Endangered Species Act of 1973.

      Therefore they are "pre-existing conditions" and part of the basic
      environment.

      NOAA said that other steps would protect salmon such as the
      construction of spillway weirs and physically transporting juvenile
      fish around the dams.

      True scoffed at the government measures.

      "Those removable spillway weirs and other gizmos simply will not make
      extinction happen any faster -- species recovery was never even part
      of the equation," he said.

      The decision effectively reverses a Clinton administration ruling in
      2000 that permitted dam removal as a last resort for salmon recovery.

      Brian Gorman, a spokesman for NOAA Fisheries, said environmentalists
      have focused on dam breaching even though NOAA cannot order that of
      the dam operators.

      "It was never really considered -- only mentioned as an option in
      2000," Gorman said. "Now we are more confident that our provisions
      will sufficiently protect fish so dam breaching doesn't even enter
      into the equation."

      Also this week, NOAA unveiled a proposal to reduce federally protected
      salmon habitat by 80 percent. Under the plan, it would be easier to
      develop land along streams and rivers as well as areas of Puget Sound.

      It follows a lawsuit filed by groups including the National
      Association of Home Builders and the Building Industry Association of
      Washington.

      They argued that the previous administration had allowed blanket
      protection of all salmon habitats -- about 150,000 square miles --
      without biological basis.