Herald and News 11/27/08
GRANTS PASS (AP) — Salmon advocates and the state of Oregon are asking a federal judge to order more water spilled over Columbia and Snake River dams to help young salmon migrate downriver to the ocean.
The motion for an injunction was filed Wednesday in U.S. District Court in Portland.
It is part of the litigation over how to balance hydroelectric needs against threatened and endangered salmon in the Columbia Basin. Water spilled over the dams doesn’t go through turbines to generate power, costing the Bonneville Power Administration millions of dollars.
Liz Hamilton of the Northwest Sportfishing Industry Association said evidence shows that increased spill is responsible for improved salmon returns this year, and the dam operators should do even more.
U.S. District Judge James Redden is scheduled to hear arguments on the merits of the latest challenge to the Bush administration’s plan for balancing salmon and dams — known as a biological opinion — on Jan. 16, and rule on the motion seeking more water over the dams sometime afterward.
The federal agencies that operate the dams said in a joint statement that they are happy with the latest operation plan, their breakthrough cooperation agreements with Indian tribes along the river, and work on improving juvenile fish passage over and through the dams as well as river habitat.