Federal Magistrate Sides With Environmental Groups On Stream Temperatures

Oct 13, 2016

A federal magistrate judge has sided with environmental groups over stream conditions for threatened fish in Oregon. The dispute involves more than a dozen watersheds, including the Willamette, Rogue and middle Columbia.

Judge John Acosta found that federal and state officials are allowing high stream temperatures to persist in violation of the Clean Water Act. A previous opinion struck down the rule regulators had used to allow warmer water.

Nina Bell directs Northwest Environmental Advocates – the group leading the legal challenge.

“Oregon had used this rule to change the temperature standards from temperatures that would normally protect salmon, steelhead and bull trout to temperatures that were up to the equivalent of 90 degrees Fahrenheit – a temperature that’s lethal to cold-water fish within minutes,” Bull said.

Judge Acosta issued recommendations – not a ruling. It’ll be up to a federal district judge to rule.

Copyright 2016 OPB