Saturday, February 26, 2011

Lubchenco in the Oregonian

Judge Redden will rule on the BiOp this spring

With the recent spate of high profile coverage and a significant court decision looming this spring, Jane Lubchenco head of NOAA today published a guest column in the Oregonian. In the piece she outlines the improvements made to the plan inherited from the Bush administration, calls for an end to litigation and the adoption of the current plan. The administration has made some positive progress on the Columbia and Snake rivers, but improved tributary habitat, hatchery reforms and increased monitoring to inform adaptive management can only go so far towards improving ESA listed salmon and steelhead runs. In the meantime improved fish passage and favorable ocean conditions have allowed some fragile populations to begin rebuilding. Ocean conditions though are variable and the degree to which wild salmon can continue to recover in the Snake and Columbia with inevitable changes in the ocean environment and climate change remains unknown. The fact remains that the four Lower Snake dams remains the single greatest obstacles to recovery. Updates to the BiOp have largely occurred behind closed doors and have failed to include states, tribes and organizations which have challenged its legitimacy. It is time to have a transparent and inclusive discussion on the Lower Snake dams and find a solution that ensures the future of the region’s economy and wild salmon. The benefits and costs of the current hydro-system must be studied and addressed, and community involvement is essential. Let the residents of the three effected states, tribal nations, towns and counties decide what is best for the Snake.

Read the Column here:

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