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OREGON COUNCIL MEMBER ADDRESSES SALMON PLAN CRITICS

 OREGON COUNCIL MEMBER ADDRESSES SALMON PLAN CRITICS
 SEATTLE, Sept. 25 /PRNewswire/ -- Angus Duncan, one of Oregon's two


members of the Northwest Power Planning Council, today warned Salmon Recovery Plan critics on the dangers of stonewalling implementation of the Council's adopted measures. In a speech at a Continuing Legal Education Workshop at the Seattle Westin Hotel, Duncan cautioned the region about the pitfalls of recovery implementors selecting from the Council's plan only those measures which they support.
 "Selective implementation -- taking or supporting only actions you agree with -- is the kiss of death for a comprehensive recovery plan. Selective implementation is a destructive genie that the National Marine Fisheries Services (NMFS) will never, this side of the Ninth Circuit Court, get back in the bottle," Duncan said.
 Critics have publicly complained, said Duncan, that the Council's plan is long on politics and short on science. "Politics was injected into this debated by the very parties who are now, rather cynically, denouncing it. We know there are gaps in our understanding of the science. The political interpretations that flow into these gaps from utilities, environmental groups and industry have improvished the debate."
 Duncan said the Council's Salmon Recovery Plan was designed to address the remaining scientific uncertainty about fish survival. Duncan admited he has his own differences with certain elements of the plan but said that it encompasses a process which allows the Council to:
 -- act on what it knows;
 -- not let ambiguous data excuse inaction, but be prepared to revisit its choices as better information emerges;
 -- act to fill the gaps in the science;
 -- change the plan in response to better information, not political pressure.
 Critics have demonstrated little support for complete and timely implementation. Duncan described the criticism as a chain reaction which will ultimately threaten any chance that actions may get off the ground to actually help the fish. "...We are no longer seeing a healthy quality of enlightened self-interest as we did back in the Salmon Summit days," Duncan said. "We have seen sideways movement by irrigating utilities and aluminum companies, and now by the Pacific Northwest Utilities Conference Committee, on reservoir drawdowns, fish transportation and harvest. Environmental groups, utilities and others are lining up to file lawsuits."
 In a polarized debate, Duncan concluded, "...river users will suffer; the region will suffer; and after a little while -- not really very long -- the fish will disappear."
 The Northwest Power Planning Council, at the direction of Sen. Hatfield and the governors from Oregon, Washington, Idaho and Montana, was asked in late 1990 to develop a comprehensive Salmon Recovery Plan using a thorough public-involvement process which would help the region avoid the expensive and bitter endangered species debates which have accompanied the spotted owl process. The Council completed this plan earlier this month at a Council meeting in Boise, Idaho. The National Marine Fisheries Services is deliberating on a plan which addresses salmon stocks listed as threatened or endangered. The Council's Plan, which will be used as a tool in the NMFS process, also addresses weak, but as yet unlisted runs, in addition to endeavoring to again reach harvestable levels.
 MEASURES INCLUDED IN NORTHWEST POWER PLANNING COUNCIL'S
 SALMON RECOVERY PLAN
 Near-term:
 -- Initiation of increase in river flow levels available during spring fish migration with minimal rate impacts on the power system (30-percent rate increases were threatened by Bonneville and the utilities last year.)
 -- Reduction of regional harvest impacts on weak stocks to even below the levels recommended by the Council.
 -- Condemnation of irrigation intakes operating without proper fish screens, as well as assistance in appropriating funding for modifications.
 -- Upgrading operations of existing fish hatcheries by setting consistent standards and conducting regular performance audits.
 Long-term:
 -- Revision of goals to include a goal of no-net-loss of biological diversity. This action recognizes that the best and only true guarantee of numbers of fish is to preserve the genetic material left in the remaining runs, and to preserve the ability of those fish to survive in the wild.
 -- Prescription of reservoir drawdowns, flood-control changes, water storage earmarked for fish migration, water conservation and coordinated Columbia Basin-wide changes in water management laws and practices.
 -- Exploration of new marking and selective harvest techniques which will ease pressure on weak stocks while permitting harvest of strong runs.
 -- Establishment of criteria for hatcheries which will help control the spread of disease and protect wild stocks from competition with hatchery-produced populations.
 -0- 9/25/92
 /CONTACT: Richard Recker, Oregon Public Affairs Northwest Power Planning Council, 503-229-5171/ CO: Northwest Power Planning Council ST: Oregon, Washington, Montana, Idaho IN: UTI SU:


JH-LM -- SE007 -- 3706 09/25/92 18:46 EDT
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Date:Sep 25, 1992
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