Federal Judge James Redden Tuesday struck down the federal government’s plan for managing salmon and steelhead in the Columbia and Snake rivers.
Judge Redden wrote in the 24-page court ruling that the federal government’s reliance on habitat restoration fails to protect imperiled salmon and steelhead, as the Endangered Species Act requires.
What this means is, the federal agency has again failed to come to court with a long term plan to protect salmon that travel past eight federal dams.
Judge Redden said in his ruling that he will allow the current management plan, called a biological opinion, to remain in place to give the lead federal agency time to return with the necessary changes.
Brian Gorman, a spokesman for that agency, National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration Fisheries, said the most important aspect of Redden’s ruling is that he wants to leave the plan in place until the end of 2013 “as the kind of governing document to tell the other federal agencies how to operate the dams on the Columbia and Snake rivers.”
Redden gave the federal agency until 2014 to return with a new plan or make the necessary changes to the existing plan.
(OPB Reporter Rob Manning contributed to this report.)
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