Feds Say Dams Are Working Fine For Columbia Salmon

By Courtney Flatt

Not much would change for dam operations on the Columbia River under the federal government’s new draft plan for protecting endangered salmon and steelhead.

The National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration revised its plan after U.S. District Judge James Redden rejected it in 2011. In the latest document, the agencies say it is not necessary to take down dams or spill more water over the river system’s 14 hydroelectric dams.

Bruce Suzumoto is with the administration.

Suzumoto: “Our finding was that our original analysis was correct, and that it was not necessary to look at additional actions, including additional spill or dam breach.”

Redden is no longer overseeing the case. He had previously suggested spilling more water over the dams, removing the lower Snake River dams, or increasing flow in the Columbia River.

Environmental groups voiced concerns that the plan does not take a more aggressive approach like Redden had suggested. Other groups in support of the plan said it goes beyond what the law requires in protecting salmon and steelhead.

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