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FISHERIES SERVICE APPLAUDS COUNCIL SALMON RECOVERY EFFORT

 FISHERIES SERVICE APPLAUDS COUNCIL SALMON RECOVERY EFFORT
 BOISE, Idaho, Jan. 9 /PRNewswire/ -- An official of the federal agency that will develop a recovery plan for endangered Snake River sockeye salmon Wednesday thanked the Northwest Power Planning Council for giving the salmon recovery effort "a running start," the council said today.
 "You've simplified a very complex and very long process. As a result, we should be able to move forward with the recovery effort much more rapi a recovery plan and recently appointed a seven-member team to coordinate that effort.
 Meanwhile, the Power Planning Council is in the process of amending its Columbia River Basin Fish and Wildlife Program to include new measures to benefit all salmon and steelhead runs in basin. The council's amendment process complements the Service's recovery efforts under the Endangered Species Act.
 Tuttle underscored that point when he told council members that their amended program "...will be one of the strong building blocks that we will use with the recovery team."
 Tuttle spoke to the council at its meeting in Boise. He appeared in place of his boss, Northwest Regional Director Rolland Schmitten, who was unable to attend.
 Tuttle lauded the council's regional approach to salmon recovery efforts, and said he and Schmitten "...give the council high marks" for its regional effort at salmon recovery. "Given the time frame you've had, it's been a very monumental effort, and some folks said it couldn't be done. You did it, and you delivered."
 Council members believe that a regionally developed plan has a greater chance of public acceptance than a plan dictated by the federal government or courts under the Endangered Species Act. They hope to avoid the contention that has characterized the recovery effort for the northern spotted owl.
 Tuttle said the Fisheries Service also wants to involve the public in its process. He said the recovery team would meet with government agencies, citizen groups and other interested parties in developing its plan, which could address other runs of Columbia Basin salmon that may be listed under the Endangered Species Act. The Service has proposed to list Snake River spring/summer and fall chinook salmon as threatened species.
 Tuttle said the council's amended program "...will help all weak stocks in the Columbia River system" and "...is going to help more than just those stocks we have received petitions on, and that's very significant."
 The council began its amendment process in May 1991 and expects to complete it later this year, within the time frame for the National Marine Fisheries Service to use parts of the program in its recovery effort. Tuttle said he hopes that the sockeye recovery plan will be completed by July, and not later than January 1993.
 The council, whose eight members represent the four Northwest governors, is amending the program in four phases. The first phase addressed measures that could be put in place quickly to begin the salmon rebuilding effort. This phase was completed in August 1991.
 The council completed the second phase in December, when it amended into the program activities that 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.
 In phase three, which began at the Boise meeting, the council will take up issues raised in the Integrated System Plan. The Integrated System Plan would coordinate efforts to produce more salmon and steelhead in the nearly three dozen subbasins that produce these fish. The plan was prepared for the council by the Columbia Basin Fish and Wildlife Authority, an association of fish and wildlife agencies and Indian tribes. In the fourth phase of the amendment process, the council will take up issues of resident fish and wildlife.
 Tuttle also passed on praise for the council's efforts from Dr. William Fox, assistant administrator of the National Marine Fisheries Service in Washington, D.C.
 "Dr. Fox asked that the recovery team work very closely with the Power Planning Council," Tuttle said. "He stressed that your recovery plan addresses the right elements, and because of your efforts, our recovery plan should proceed rapidly."
 -0- 1/9/92
 /CONTACT: John Harrison of the Northwest Power Planning Council, 503-222-5161/ CO: Northwest Power Planning Council; National Marine Fisheries
 Service ST: Idaho, Oregon, Montana, Washington IN: SU:


SC-JH -- SE010 -- 8339 01/09/92 15:22 EST
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Date:Jan 9, 1992
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