Bush administration to reduce protections for salmon

The Bush administration on Tuesday proposed to reduce the critical habitat for salmon in the Pacific Northwest by 80 percent and ruled out removal of dams on the Columbia and Snake Rivers to protect endangered and threatened fish.

The National Oceanographic and Atmospheric Administration issued a biological opinion and a final updated proposed action affecting salmon protection plans and the operation of four federal dams. In a new interpretation of the Endangered Species Act, the Bush administration said it would limit the critical habitat only to those rivers and streams currently occupied by fish -- rather than the fish's historic range.

And in a reversal from the Clinton administration, the Bush administration said it would no longer consider removal of the four dams as an option. The $6 billion plan said other measures to help fish would be considered.

Pacific Northwest tribes have supported removal of the dams in order to protect their treaty-based fishing rights.

Get the Story:
Bush to dramatically reduce areas protected for salmon (The Seattle Times 12/1)
Dam removal isn't an option under Bush's plan (The Seattle Times 12/1)
Dropping dam removal from recovery plan angers critics (The Seattle Post-Intelligencer 12/)
Cutback in salmon protection proposed (The Seattle Post-Intelligencer 12/)
U.S. Rules Out Dam Removal to Aid Salmon (The New York Times 12/1)
Salmon and Steelhead May Lose Protections (The Los Angeles Times 12/1)

Relevant Documents:
Biological Opinion | Final Updated Proposed Action | Letter to the Region

Relevant Links:
NOAA Fisheries - http://www.nmfs.noaa.gov

Related Stories:
Warm Springs Tribes criticize shift on dam breaching (09/10)
Federal agencies change minds on removal of dams (09/01)
Nez Perce Tribe calls for protection of salmon (08/13)
Judge sides with tribes on proposed water spill (07/29)