Habitat Restoration Scrutinized for Columbia River Watershed

A new biological opinion sets policy for the Federal Columbia River Power System until 2018. Critics say the new plan continues the unsuccessful status quo of habitat restoration—instead they want to spill water over four dams on the Snake River.

The National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration recently released a court-mandated biological opinion for the operation of the Federal Columbia River Power System (FCRPS). The biological opinion follows the most recent version of the plan, adopted in 2008, and a subsequent biological opinion from 2010. The plan was struck down in court in 2011. The new biological opinion has renewed an ongoing controversy about the efficacy of habitat restoration in restoring the 13 species of Columbia River Basin salmon and steelhead listed for protection under the Endangered Species Act (ESA).

Critics of the most recent biological opinion, including environmental groups and the Nez Perce Tribe, cite the lack of improvement in salmon population as a sign that the traditional strategy of habitat restoration is not working. They would rather explore the breaching of four dams (i.e., increasing the water until it can spill over the tops of the dams) along the Snake River, which is a tributary of the Columbia River. Breaching, it’s hoped, would make passage along the river easier for endangered salmon and steelhead. But spilling water over the dam comes at the cost of the potential for that water to produce electricity.

Full Story: New Columbia River plan for protecting salmon and steelhead is little changed

Comments

Prepare for the AICP* Exam

Join the thousands of students who have utilized the Planetizen AICP* Exam Preparation Class to prepare for the American Planning Association's AICP* exam.
Starting at $245
AICP CTP Storefont Display

The first online AICP* CTP exam prep class

Are you ready to take the AICP* Certified Transportation Planner exam?
Priced at $245 for May exam!
DVD Cover of The Story of Sprawl

The Story of Sprawl

See how America changed shape in this collection of historic films that visually document how sprawl evolved.
$29.99 for 2-DVD SET
Book cover of Insider's Guide to Careers in Urban Planning

So you want to be a planner...

Check out our behind the scenes look at 25 careers in the Urban Planning field
Starting at $14.95