Biden-Harris Administration Announces Measures to Improve Conditions for Salmon in the Columbia River Basin

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Rainbow trout and salmon populations in the Columbia River have long been a concern for the operation of federal hydroelectric dams on the river. Photo file

WASHINGTON – The Biden-Harris administration announced an important step to chart a course forward in a long-standing conflict in the Columbia River Basin over the operation of 14 federal dams and their impacts on salmon and trout populations rainbow of the region.

In an effort to take a fresh look at important issues affecting communities, economy and resources of the Pacific Northwest, the United States, the State of Oregon, the Nez Perce tribe and the ‘A coalition of plaintiffs led by the National Wildlife Federation have reached a compromise on the key contested elements of the operations of the Columbia River system in 2022. The agreement, filed today in the United States District Court for the District of Oregon, describes how eight dams in the Columbia River Basin will be operated over the coming year. This will include additional water discharge into the fish passage past the dams at certain times of the year while preserving the reliable hydroelectric generation, transportation and other services provided by the dams.

The agreement also asks the tribunal to stay the litigation until the end of July 2022, in order to give affected states, tribal nations and stakeholders the opportunity to identify and consider alternative and lasting solutions to the challenges of long standing in the Columbia River system.

“The Columbia River system is an invaluable natural resource that is essential for many stakeholders in the basin. Today’s filing represents an important opportunity to prioritize the resolution of more than 20 years of litigation and identify creative solutions that will improve salmon conditions for years to come, ”the secretary said at the Interior Deb Haaland. “While it is important to balance the region’s economy and power generation, it is also time to improve conditions for the tribes who have depended on these important species since time immemorial. “

“Hydropower plays an incredible role in integrating renewable resources and delivering carbon-free energy, a prime example of affordable and clean energy sources available in every pocket of this country,” said the secretary. at Energy Jennifer M. Granholm. “By joining forces with our interagency partners and key stakeholders in the Northwest, DOE will ensure that reducing carbon emissions remains a priority, while supporting a strong economy and affordable electricity for people. families and businesses, as we partner in the Northwest to meet the full range of region goals.

“Federal dams in the Columbia River system play a critical role in ensuring flood resilience, low-carbon water transport of goods, and public safety in the region. We remain committed to pursuing collaborative approaches to river management, public safety and salmon restoration, ”said Acting Senior Assistant to the Deputy Secretary of the Army for Civil Works, Vance Stewart.

“A healthy and vibrant Columbia River basin is good for the economy and for the people of the Pacific Northwest,” said Commerce Secretary Gina Raimondo. “The Columbia River Basin is critical to salmon and rainbow trout production on the West Coast, providing a key refuge for salmon and rainbow trout from the effects of climate change. Finding effective solutions to conserve and rebuild these species and their habitat is of critical importance to our work.

“For the sake of all who live in the Northwest, it’s time to chart a more sustainable course in the Columbia River Basin,” said Brenda Mallory, chair of the White House’s Quality Council. environment. “This agreement opens an opportunity for states, tribes, federal agencies, Congress and all stakeholders to work together to forge lasting solutions that are so needed. The Administration is committed to finding a long-term solution in the region to restore salmon, honor our commitments to tribal nations, ensure reliable clean energy and meet the needs of stakeholders.


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