Portland – A ruling today by federal Judge James A. Redden delivered a major victory for the Columbia and Snake rivers, imperiled salmon and steelhead runs, and Northwest communities. American Rivers, a plaintiff in the long-standing case, applauded the ruling that opens the door to comprehensive solutions surrounding dam operations and salmon recovery.
Judge Redden found that the Obama Administration’s 2010 Biological Opinion is illegal, meaning that it is insufficient for recovering salmon and steelhead. The salmon plan governs operations of the federal dams on the Columbia and Snake rivers and includes actions intended to mitigate for the harm the dams inflict on the threatened and endangered fish runs. This is the third time Judge Redden has found a federal salmon plan illegal under the federal Endangered Species Act.
Brett Swift, Northwest regional director for American Rivers, issued the following statement:
“This ruling is a win for everyone who cares about wild salmon runs and healthy rivers. Judge Redden made the right call by throwing out the insufficient salmon plan for the third time in a row. This court decision creates the opportunity to end the litigation and bring the people of the Columbia and Snake rivers together to craft a lasting solution.”
“The lower Snake River represents the best chance for salmon recovery in the lower 48. The science points to the removal of the four dams on the lower Snake as the centerpiece of the necessary salmon recovery solution. “
“If these four dams are removed, we must replace their benefits to protect those who currently depend on their services. It is time to modernize dam and salmon management in a way that works for the whole region, including farmers, fishermen, and energy producers. “
“We are ready to roll up our sleeves and get to work. We hope the White House, Northwest governors, and the Northwest congressional delegation will support a forum where the river’s stakeholders can work out their differences and craft a comprehensive settlement that improves the Northwest’s economy and environment. “
American Rivers is the leading organization working to protect and restore the nation’s rivers and streams. Rivers connect us to each other, nature, and future generations. Since 1973, American Rivers has fought to preserve these connections, helping protect and restore more than 150,000 miles of rivers through advocacy efforts, on-the-ground projects, and the annual release of America’s Most Endangered Rivers®.
Headquartered in Washington, DC, American Rivers has offices across the country and more than 100,000 supporters, members, and volunteers nationwide. Visit www.americanrivers.org, www.facebook.com/americanrivers and www.twitter.com/americanrivers.