A federal mediator told the Columbia Basin Collaborative Wednesday that his group is hoping for “an extension on the stay” of litigation over Columbia/Snake river basin salmon recovery so mediation among plaintiffs and defendants can continue to move forward.
The Washington Department of Ecology has started the rulemaking process to update the state’s aquatic life toxics criteria to reflect new information about toxic chemicals. Among the species of aquatic life that needs protecting are endangered chinook salmon, steelhead and Orca whales.
The Water Resources Development Act of 2022 approved by the House of Representatives Wednesday includes a lengthy section called “Columbia River Basin Restoration” and would require an inter-agency assessment of the four lower Snake River dams’ impact on fish and wildlife.
The Xerces Society and Center for Biological Diversity filed a notice of intent this week to sue the U.S. Department of Agriculture’s secretive Animal and Plant Health Inspection Service for failing to properly consider harms to endangered species caused by insecticide spraying across millions of acres of western grasslands.
The White House this week made clear it plans to be involved in Columbia River salmon recovery, saying it has engaged mediators to facilitate “public policy dialogue” with governments and stakeholders.
Through the end of 2021, the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers implemented a number of measures required by a federal court to improve conditions for protected salmon, steelhead and bull trout at its Willamette River valley dams. In addition, the Corps continued implementing other measures already in process prior to a Sept. 1, 2021 court injunction. Even more measures that will improve passage or water quality for fish will be put into motion this year, according to the federal agency’s recently released report.
In its development of an environmental impact statement for 13 Willamette Valley Project dams, the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers is considering and evaluating a range of four alternatives, plus a no action alternative, that will likely change the way it operates the dams to protect salmon, steelhead and bull trout listed under the Endangered Species Act.
The Washington state Supreme Court has unanimously upheld permits allowing Cooke Aquaculture Pacific to farm steelhead trout in net pens in Washington waters.
A federal court in Washington State has ordered the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency to make a determination within 180 days whether it should take over development of Washington’s water quality standards for toxic pollutants.