New Plan Aims To Recover Threatened Snake River Salmon

Oct 28, 2016

Federal officials are taking a closer look at dam operations, as they update a new recovery plan for threatened fish that migrate hundreds of miles up the Columbia and Snake rivers. The plan comes during renewed debate over whether the Snake River dams should be removed.

It’s up to NOAA Fisheries to update recovery plans for threatened spring and summer chinook and steelhead on the Snake River. The goal is to bring back the fish populations enough so that they can be removed from the endangered species list.

Rosemary Furfey is with NOAA Fisheries. She says the proposed plan outlines things like improved habitat, better fish passage at dams, cooler water temperatures.

“But the recovery plan recognizes we may need to do even more than those,” Furfey said.

More, like keep an eye on the court-ordered discussion about altering or removing the four lower Snake River dams. Fish managers say the outcome of that debate could spell out some of the biggest changes for fish recovery throughout the system.

Right now, they estimate it could take between 50 to 100 years to remove Snake River spring chinook and steelhead from the endangered species list.

Copyright 2016 Northwest Public Radio