rally.web.13May has been an especially big month for those of us working to restore healthy, fishable populations of wild salmon and steelhead to the Columbia and Snake Rivers!
 
There have been several very positive developments - from the Court, the Obama Administration, and Congress.  These events indicate a growing recognition of the crisis facing salmon and Northwest communities, a growing interest in bringing people together to craft an effective solution, and a return of sound science, good economics, and common sense to this debate.

Please enjoy this issue of Wild Salmon & Steelhead News!
 
I. May 1st - Obama Administration requests more time.
II. May 18th - Judge Redden weighs in – has “serious reservations” about salmon plan.
III: May 26-28 – Administration officials visit Northwest for a ‘listening session’ while fishing men and women hold rally.
IV. May 29th - Senator Crapo (R-ID) endorses comprehensive “Salmon Solutions” Negotiation.

I. May 1st - Obama Administration requests more time.
In early May, the new Administration asked Judge James Redden for an additional 30-60 days to more closely scrutinize the 2008 Federal Salmon Plan that it inherited from the Bush Administration. The judge agreed. Salmon and fishing advocates were supportive of this request, as an excellent first step by the Administration to ensure that it understands this plan fully before deciding how it will go about addressing the Northwest salmon crisis.

The Obama Administration is expected to respond to the judge about how it wants to proceed with the 2008 Salmon Plan in late June or early July.
 
II. May 18th - Judge Redden weighs in – has “serious reservations” about salmon plan.
In mid-May, United States Judge James Redden, after granting the new Administration extra time to review the Bush-era Plan, sent out a 'guidance letter' to help parties to the litigation more fully understand the plan’s legal and scientific shortcomings. With this letter, it appears to be the judge’s intent to help guide the Administration’s review as it considers next steps. He expressed “serious reservations” about the lawfulness of the plan. He charged the federal government with having “spent the better part of the last decade treading water, and avoiding their obligations…we simply cannot afford to waste another decade.” The judge also reiterated his suggestion to consider removing the four dams on the lower Snake River.

Read the LA Times article on the Judge's letter.
 
III: May 26-28 – Administration officials visit Northwest for a ‘listening session’ while fishing men and women hold rally.
In late May, the new National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA) Administrator Dr. Jane Lubchenco and White House Council on Environmental Quality (CEQ) Chair Nancy Sutley visited the Pacific Northwest. It was part of their expanded review of the Bush-era Salmon Plan in order to better understand its implications for salmon recovery, the Endangered Species Act and West Coast communities.

Unfortunately, meeting requests made by recreational and commercial fishing men and women, conservationists, and clean energy advocates were denied.  This came after months of public comment from advocates across the country asking for real collaboration and an opportunity to discuss these issues with the new Administration. While we appreciated the visit by the Administration officials, we were disappointed not to be able to meet with them to share our perspective on these important issues.

Nevertheless, our voices WERE heard.  On Tuesday, May 26th, fishermen and salmon advocates rallied in front of the Administration’s meeting in Portland, garnering attention from print, radio, and TV media outlets.  Here are some of highlights:
 
 
On the same day, NW Sportfishing Industry Association (NSIA) teamed up with the Pacific Coast Federation of Fishermen’s Associations (PCFFA) and sent a strong message to President Obama, printed in the Oregonian. 

Take a look here at the full page open letter to President Obama.
IV. May 29th - Senator Crapo (R-ID) endorses comprehensive “salmon solutions” negotiation.
On Friday, just after the completion of the Administration’s Regional “Listening Session”, Senator Crapo spoke at the NW Energy Coalition’s regional conference in Boise and announced his support for the establishment of a stakeholder negotiation table that will bring together stakeholders in the fishing, farming, energy, and conservation communities to collaboratively craft a comprehensive solution to the Columbia-Snake River salmon crisis. Importantly, he expressed support for the development of a plan that restores healthy, fishable populations of wild salmon and steelhead. He also made it clear that all recovery options must be on the table – including the removal of the four lower Snake River dams (though he does not (yet!) support this option).

This is the strongest, most public declaration by any Northwest congressional leader that the region should consider removing the four dams on the lower Snake River in Washington that scientists say make it hard for the endangered fish to recover their once plentiful runs. For much of this year, our campaign members have been asking the Obama Administration to lead a stakeholder settlement process as a key step toward resolving the litigation and creating a legal plan that works for both salmon and people.

Media coverage on Senator Crapo’s announcement:
 
 
 
 
 
 
 

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