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* Feedback: BiOp Challenge And Best Available
-- From John McKern, Walla Walla, Columbia Basin Fish and Wildlife Bulletin 6/27/08
RE: Story in CBB June 20, 2008: "Groups File Against 2008 Salmon/Steelhead Biological Opinion; Oregon Also To Challenge"
So the radical environmental groups are suing once again to prevent the Federal dam operators from using the best available science to protect the Columbia River salmon. Between them and Judge Redden, they are the second most deadly force to the salmon in the region. Only the predacious birds, fish, seals, and sea lions kill more juvenile salmon each year.
The Corps and BPA have funded hundreds of millions of dollars for research to improve fish survival and spent billions improving facilities so juvenile and adult salmon are protected when passing the dams. Recent research found that adult salmon survived from Ice Harbor dam to Idaho and Oregon spawning grounds at 99.2 percent (over 99.7 percent per dam). Salmon season is open above the dams! With juvenile fish bypasses that give up to 100 percent survival, and fish friendly operation of turbines, juvenile survival could now average over 96 percent per dam WITHOUT SPILL. Furthermore, spilling fish through the system at 93 percent survival per project kills almost half of them while they could be barged around the dams at 99.7 percent survival per project.
The claim that breaching the four Snake River dams is the silver bullet that will save the runs could not be further from the truth. Very few fall Chinook spawned in the lower Snake River before the dams because, in the words of an old Washington Department of Fisheries biologist, the water was "too damned hot." There are probably more fall Chinook spawning below the dams (that's right, below the dams) now because the river seldom exceeds 70ºF where it reached the low 80 degrees F before the dams were built.
Do the Earth Justice League, State of Oregon, and other litigants have better science? The answer is a resounding 'NO!'" They don't have to. All they have to do is claim the Feds aren't using the best available science, and the judge tells them they have to start over again. Come on Congress, we need some laws to stop these baseless, extremely costly, fish killing lawsuits. We need a legal system that seeks out the best available science, not one that rolls over to baseless allegations.
Fish Passage Solutions LLC
Walla Walla, WA 99362
Page Updated: Thursday May 07, 2009 09:14 AM Pacific
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