Monday, January 27, 2014

Judge Rules in Favor of Wild Sandy Steelhead and Salmon



"The most significant decision benefitting wild fish in Oregon for decades"

Last week Judge Ancer Haggerty of the US District Court ruled that the Oregon Department of Fish and Wildlife's hatchery management plan prepared for the Sandy River and approved by NOAA violated the Endangered Species Act (ESA) and the National Enrivonmental Policy Act (NEPA). The judge ruled that he believed that the measures laid out in the hatchery plan would not reduce the risk of extinction for chinook and steelhead in the Lower Columbia, and that the alternatives put forward in the Environmental Impact Statement were not sufficient to reduce hatchery impacts on wild fish in the Sandy River. The case was brought by the Native Fish Society and the McKenzie Fly Fishers.

The ruling creates an important precedent for legal challenges to hatchery operations that jeopardize the conservation and recovery of ESA listed wild populations. The judge has now given the plaintiffs and the agencies involved time to come to an agreement on how to move forward before the spring time smolt releases in the Sandy River.

More information from Oregon Public Broadcasting:
http://www.opb.org/radio/programs/thinkoutloud/segment/judge-rules-sandy-river-hatchery-violates-epa/

and from the Native Fish Society:
http://nativefishsociety.org/index.php/conservation/savesandysalmoncampign/

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