NOAA Fisheries announces three new BiOps on dam irrigation projects
In a press release issued earlier today, NOAA’s Fisheries Service, the federal agency charged with protecting Northwest salmon listed under the Endangered Species Act, announced the release of "a trio of biological opinions that provide comprehensive, far-reaching plans for the protected salmon species. A biological opinion, a requirement of the Endangered Species Act, sets forth benchmarks other federal agencies must meet to avoid undue harm to listed fish. All three of today’s biological opinions will be in effect for at least 10 years. Two of the plans govern federal agencies’ operations of eight hydropower dams in the Columbia River basin and almost two dozen other Northwest dam-related irrigation projects on the Upper Snake River in Idaho. The third sets forth a plan for managing salmon harvests for Indian tribes in Washington, Idaho, and Oregon, and for those states themselves." In addition to salmonids, the BiOps also address climate change, the effects of hydro operations on killer whales and green sturgeon, and several independent science reviews.
Photo of fish waiting to be counted at the Bonneville Dam fish ladder return, taken in Fall 2003, from the Northwest Power and Conservation Council