"New Northwest Salmon Plan Modifies Bush Approach"

"Seattle -- Fisheries managers announced Tuesday that they would enhance but not significantly alter the government's current strategy for saving salmon from extinction in the rivers of the Pacific Northwest, drawing criticism from conservationists.

The long-awaited review left intact key components of the George W. Bush administration's controversial 2008 'biological opinion,' which concluded that salmon could be kept alive on the Columbia and Snake rivers without removing dams or significantly increasing water flows.

But the plan submitted Tuesday for a federal judge's approval calls for extra measures to protect the fish -- including an additional $940 million in habitat improvements and expanded efforts to control predators and invasive species.

It also proposes rigorous scientific monitoring that would automatically put into play a broad range of additional protection measures -- even removal of four dams in Washington as a 'last resort' -- if salmon and steelhead trout numbers plunged."

Kim Murphy reports for the Los Angeles Times September 16, 2009.

Wednesday, September 16, 2009