Latest Snake River Salmon Recovery Plan Already Under Legal Threat

Oct 26, 2020

Just weeks after the federal government said it would keep the four lower Snake River dams in place, conservation and sportsmen groups are suing once again.

Environmental advocacy group Earthjustice filed a notice of intent on Friday to sue several federal agencies over their latest plan to stabilize salmon and steelhead numbers.

But Earthjustice and several other groups signing onto the suit, say the endangered fish are still at risk, as are the Southern Resident orca that rely on strong salmon runs for food. Those signing onto the group include American Rivers, Idaho Rivers United, Institute for Fisheries Resources, NW Energy Coalition, Northwest Sportfishing Industry Association, Natural Resources Defense Council, Pacific Coast Federation of Fishermen’s Associations, Sierra Club, National Wildlife Federation, Columbia Riverkeeper and the Idaho Conservation League.

The Army Corps of Engineers, the Bureau of Reclamation and the Bonneville Power Administration adopted a plan in September that would spill more water over the dams, but keep them intact.

The issue of whether to breach the four lower Snake River dams has been ongoing for decades. Courts have already overturned five plans adopted by these federal agencies.

Spokespeople for the Bureau of Reclamation and Army Corps of Engineers sent out the same statement. Both agencies said continued lawsuits aren’t “productive” to ongoing talks about managing the dams. A representative from the Bonneville Power Administration didn’t respond to a request for comment.

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