In a presidential memorandum released Wednesday, the Biden Administration emphasized salmon and steelhead restoration in the Columbia and Snake river basins and called for an all-hands-on-deck approach to recovery of the fish.
The Yurok Tribe and the Klamath River Renewal Corporation (KRRC), in collaboration with the Shasta Indian Nation, started preparing a stretch of the Klamath River to flow freely for the first time in a century.
The Biden administration this week announced that the Bonneville Power Administration will provide three Upper Columbia River Tribes $200 million over 20 years for ongoing efforts to reintroduce salmon above Grand Coulee and Chief Joseph dams, which have blocked fish migration since 1942. The Tribes have agreed to a twenty-year pause to existing litigation while these actions are pursued.
The U.S. Army Corps of Engineers will hold four virtual listening-only sessions this month and in October to describe how it will operate the Columbia River system of dams after September 2024 if the Columbia River Treaty negotiations fail to reach an agreement.
A long-running annual report that evaluates salmon and steelhead survival in the Columbia and Snake rivers again this year concluded that removal of the lower Snake River dams poses less of a risk to recovery than allowing the four dams to remain in place.
By legislative requirement, the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers’ Portland District is assessing whether it should continue to produce hydroelectric power at its Willamette Valley project dams.
Throughout the summer, the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers has been using the cool water from deep within the Dworshak Reservoir to maintain a maximum 68-degree Fahrenheit tailwater temperature at Lower Granite Dam on the lower Snake River. Temperatures higher than 68 degrees can be lethal to both adult and juvenile salmonids migrating in the river, including endangered Snake River sockeye salmon arriving in late July and early August.
NOAA Fisheries is asking for comments on its existing plan that allows for take of hatchery and listed wild Snake River sockeye to help in the recovery of the fish, listed as endangered under the federal Endangered Species Act. Comments are due September 7.
A recent study funded by the Pacific Northwest Waterways Association concludes that breaching the four lower Snake River dams would impact the most vulnerable populations near the dams in Oregon, Washington and Idaho, leading to job losses, impacts to public services and degraded air quality.