Printer Friendly

NORTHWEST POWER PLANNING COUNCIL APPROVES SALMON RECOVERY MEASURES

NORTHWEST POWER PLANNING COUNCIL APPROVES SALMON RECOVERY MEASURES
 PORTLAND, Ore., Dec. 11 /PRNewswire/ -- The Northwest Power Planning Council Wednesday amended the region's Columbia River Basin Fish and Wildlife Program with a number of actions to improve salmon and steelhead survival.
 The amendments address fish passage improvements at hydroelectric dams, harvest reductions, a temporary program to reduce commercial fishing and increased river velocity during the annual fish migration in the Snake and Columbia rivers.
 All eight members of the Council voted to approve the amendments.
 "The time for the region to act is now," Council Chairman Ted Hallock of Oregon said. "The recovery plan will require cooperation and participation from all who benefit from the Columbia and Snake rivers. This will help balance any adverse effects and keep any one group from bearing the entire burden."
 Power Planning Council members are appointed by the Northwest governors, and Hallock acknowledged the governors' role in preparing the amendments.
 "The governors have shown great leadership," Hallock said. "They directed the Council to develop a regional plan to protect weak salmon stocks -- a plan that the National Marine Fisheries Service could use as the basis for its recovery planning."
 The Service declared Snake River sockeye salmon as endangered species last month and will prepare a recovery plan. The Council's amended fish and wildlife program could form the basis for that plan.
 Hallock emphasized that a successful recovery plan requires enhancing salmon survival at every stage of the life cycle, from birth through their journeys to the ocean and back again to spawn. Amendments approved by the Council call for action on all fronts, from mainstem passage to harvest to habitat and production.
 The amendments are designed to rebuild weak salmon runs in the Columbia River Basin. In preparing the amendments, the Council analyzed expected benefits from its actions, which include augmenting water flows in the Columbia and Snake to improve conditions for fish. The analysis consistently showed benefits for fish based on 50 years of historical water records.
 Benefits are greatest during low water years. For example, in conditions similar to those during the eight lowest water years on record, the analysis indicates that currently only four percent of juvenile salmon and steelhead in the Columbia and Snake rivers survive the downstream migration through eight federal dams to the ocean. The activities approved by the Council Wednesday would boost that survival rate to 22 percent in similar conditions, the analysis suggests.
 To augment river flows, Council amendments call for increasing water storage behind dams during winter months. That water would be released in spring during the critical period when juvenile salmon and steelhead are migrating to the ocean. The releases would increase the flow of both rivers and speed annual migration of the young fish.
 Council amendments also call for reducing harvest of all Chinook salmon to 55 percent of the annual run from a high in recent years of about 77 percent. In its amendments, the Council also called for leasing back the commercial fishing licenses of some river and ocean harvesters to further improve survival of adult fish attempting to return to their spawning grounds to reproduce.
 The Council gave the hydropower system flexibility to provide water to aid fish in the least disruptive manner possible. But storing water in winter for release the following spring will result in lost hydropower generation and sales. Depending on the value of the lost sales and purchased power, the cost could average $70 million a year, the Council estimates.
 Lost power production revenues would not constitute the total cost of the program, however. Other actions proposed by the Council also have costs. For example, in 1992, other fish projects would total about $30 million.
 The immediate costs and lost revenues translate to a wholesale power rate increase of about 4 percent, if the cost is spread over all Bonneville customers. The impact on ratepayers would be somewhat less, however, depending on how much of the increase utilities pass on to their customers. These costs could increase as additional capital obligations are incurred in the future.
 The amendments also call for:
 -- Improvements to fish passage facilities at five dams on the Columbia and Snake rivers, reduction of predation in the reservoirs behind dams and improvements in juvenile fish transportation in the years when fish are transported downriver past the dams.
 -- A measure to use cool water from behind Dworshak Dam to reduce the water temperature downriver for fall Chinook.
 -- Immediate testing of a drawdown on the Snake River and full- scale drawdown by 1995 unless studies show the drawdowns would be structurally or economically infeasible, biologically imprudent or inconsistent with the Northwest Power Act.
 -- An evaluation of other possible sources of water to aid fish, including additional storage, water conservation and seasonal power exchanges.
 -- Establishment of a Fish Operation Executive Committee, which would include representatives of state and federal fish and power agencies. The panel would develop a plan to guide the day-to-day operation of the river system for fish.
 -- Shifting harvest to known-stock and terminal fisheries and developing gear that would allow selective harvest of strong stock.
 -0- 12/11/91
 /CONTACT: John Harrison of Northwest Power Planning Council, 503-222-5161/ CO: Northwest Power Planning Council ST: Oregon IN: UTI SU:


JH -- SE003 -- 1578 12/11/91 15:42 EST
COPYRIGHT 1991 PR Newswire Association LLC
No portion of this article can be reproduced without the express written permission from the copyright holder.
Copyright 1991 Gale, Cengage Learning. All rights reserved.

Article Details
Printer friendly Cite/link Email Feedback
Publication:PR Newswire
Date:Dec 11, 1991
Words:883
Previous Article:ANGEION CORPORATION RAISES ADDITIONAL $2.1 MILLION
Next Article:MAGNETEK ANNOUNCES COMPLETION OF PUBLIC SALE OF SENIOR SUBORDINATED DEBENTURES
Topics:


Related Articles
GOV. GARDNER SUPPORTS POWER COUNCIL PLAN FOR SALMON RECOVERY
NORTHWEST POWER PLANNING COUNCIL: FISHERIES SERVICE DIRECTOR SCHMITTEN PRAISES COUNCIL SALMON RECOVERY PLAN
OREGON COUNCIL MEMBER ADDRESSES SALMON PLAN CRITICS
NORTHWEST POWER PLANNING COUNCIL: REGIONAL LEADERS RE-COMMIT TO RESTORING SALMON RUNS IN THE COLUMBIA AND SNAKE RIVERS
NORTHWEST POWER PLANNING COUNCIL FINISHES NEW DRAFT RULES TO MITIGATE LOSSES OF FISH AND WILDLIFE
NORTHWEST POWER PLANNING COUNCIL CONVENES FEDERAL, STATE AGENCIES, TRIBES AND UTILITIES TO REVIEW SALMON RECOVERY PROGRESS
NORTHWEST POWER PLANNING COUNCIL: SNAKE RIVER SALMON RUNS
NORTHWEST POWER PLANNING COUNCIL MARCH MEETING AGENDA
Northwest Power Planning Council Hears Plight of Gillnet Fishing Industry

Terms of use | Copyright © 2016 Farlex, Inc. | Feedback | For webmasters