Service says dams should stay put


The federal agency charged with recovering endangered salmon won't recommend dismantling dams - at least for now (HCN, 12/20/99: Unleashing the Snake). Will Stelle, regional director of the National Marine Fisheries Service, said recently that his agency wants to table the breaching debate for five to 10 years while it tries to boost salmon returns through other measures, such as improving habitat and reducing harvest. The service will deliver its long-anticipated biological opinion at the end of May.

"To make such a big decision without the information to say we are doing the right thing is challenging, to say the least," says agency spokeswoman Janet Sears.

The announcement angers people on both sides of the breaching debate.

Dam advocates want breaching removed from consideration for good. They say there is no reason to delay the decision because the Army Corps of Engineers concluded salmon can be saved without breaching.

"They are dodging the decision somehow, and from our perspective, if the Corps concluded they can save the salmon and keep the dams in the river, let's get on with it," says Frank Carroll, spokesman for Potlatch Corp.

Environmentalists and Indian tribes who want to remove the dams are also frustrated. They say the delay has more to do with upcoming elections in November than with scientific uncertainty.

"There is only one word to describe how the administration has been on this issue, and that is gutless," says Scott Bosse of Idaho Rivers United, who adds that delay will further hurt the region's salmon.

"In five to 10 years to 10 minutes from now, the outlook is still the same: The best biological option for the salmon is dam removal," says Samuel N. Penney, chairman of the Nez Perce Tribal Executive Committee.

Both environmentalists and the tribes say they plan to sue the Clinton administration if it delays on the dam decision.

Copyright © 2000 HCN and Eric Barker

NewTowncarShare News Classifieds
  • 1400 sf of habitable space in a custom-designed eco-home created and completed by a published L.A. architect in 1997-99. Nestled within its own 80-acre mountain...
  • The National Parks Conservation Association, the nations leading national park advocacy organization, seeks a Regional Director to lead and manage staff for the Southwest Regional...
  • available in Gothic, CO for 2019 summer season - Manager, Lead Cooks, Prep-Cooks, Dishwasher - at the Rocky Mountain Biological Laboratory (RMBL). The Dining Hall...
  • Suitable for planting hay, hemp, fruit. Excellent water rights. 1800 square foot farmhouse, outbuildings, worker housing.
  • More information: Search 96076
  • Friends of the Verde River is looking for someone to join our team who has a keen investigative mind and is an excellent communicator and...
  • - Thriving Indie bookstore in Durango, CO. 1800 sf of busy retail space in a 3100 sf historic building. Long term lease or option to...
  • with home on one acre in Pocatello, ID. For information and photos visit
  • The Bears Ears Inter-Tribal Coalition is seeking a technical partner to develop a land management plan for the 1.9 million-acre Bears Ears Landscape in southeastern...
  • Specializing in native seeds and seed mixes for western states.
  • on 3 acres near Moxon. 3 bd/1.5 bath, apt. Views/access to hiking, fishing, wildlife.1-207-593-6312. $165,900.
  • Senior position responsible for the development of all marketing and fundraising strategies to grow the base of philanthropic support and awareness of GSEP.
  • This newly created position with The Nature Conservancy's Colorado River Program will play a key role in the development and implementation of strategies to achieve...
  • The Wilderness Society works to protect Wildlands and inspire Americans to care for our public lands. We seek to hire a strategic, experienced leader who...
  • Organic grocery/cafe at Glacier Bay needs a vibrant leader. Love good food, community, and Alaska? Join us!
  • Collector's Item! The story of barley, the field crop. 50 years of non-fiction research.
  • near Ennis, MT. Artist designed, 1900 SF, 2BR/2BA home on 11.6 acres with creek, tree, views, privacy. 406-570-9233 or [email protected] (Country Homes).
  • Colorado Farm to Table is looking for a full-time energetic, creative Executive Director to lead our team in Salida.
  • Join HCN and Black Sheep Adventures on an expedition through the national parks and monuments of Utah and Southwest Colorado, September 7 - 15, 2019....
  • 25 acre in native grasses. Cedar draw. Year-round spring. At foot of Moscow Mnt, ID, 7 miles from town.