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.
Nationally, commercial fisheries are doing fine, but fishermen on the West Coast are hurting. An annual report out Wednesday from federal fisheries managers shows a stark fall-off in the big seafood money-makers of the Pacific Northwest.
Starting Monday people will get a chance to weigh-in on a controversial question: Should four dams come down on the lower Snake River? They’re facing renewed scrutiny because of a court-ordered analysis on how the dams are harming salmon.
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.
They’re billed as vegan rainbow trout, but their new menu, developed by the University of Idaho’s Director of Aquaculture Research, Ron Hardy includes a little fish oil. So more accurately, you might call these fish pescatarians.
This summer, government officials have killed about 150 cormorants nesting on an island in the Columbia River. They're using rifles with silencers under the cover of night. It's part of a plan that aims to protect salmon from these avian predators. Scientists say the birds are eating up to 18 percent of juvenile salmon. But opponents argue killing the birds won't actually help the fish. Cassandra Profita went onto the river to find out more.
Conservation groups are accusing the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service of withholding research showing a federal plan to kill seabirds on the Columbia River would not actually benefit salmon and steelhead.
Salmon are a touchstone in the Northwest... in food, in nature, and now, in the damage wrought by the ongoing drought: less than half of returning Sockeye are expected to survive to the end of summer. But another important fish is dying in unprecedented numbers too: the massive white sturgeon native to the Columbia River.
Evans Creek is barely a trickle. A dry summer in Southern Oregon means the important salmon and steelhead creek, a tributary of the Rogue River, disappears below the gravel bed in places. Seemingly stagnant isolated pools are all that remain in some areas.
The legal battle over maintaining dams and salmon in the Columbia River is back in court this week. On Tuesday, a new judge will hear arguments on the Obama administration's latest salmon protection plan.
Fisheries experts say the return of Chinook salmon to the Columbia River may not quite break records this fall as expected. Last year’s run was a record: nearly 1.3 million strong. But future years may not bring these kinds of mighty schools.