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NW Fishletter
NWF.322/September 19, 2013
New NMFS BiOp Explains Why More Spill Is A Non-Starter
On Sept. 9, NOAA Fisheries released its latest draft hydro BiOp for public comment, to satisfy the concerns of now-retired federal District Judge James Redden, who said it needed more specific actions to improve habitat in the Columbia Basin after 2013. ...more
Power Council Hears From Supporters Of Huge Spill Test
Steve Haeseker, the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service biologist who led the CSS spill analysis that some regional groups are using to push for a years-long-test at federal dams, made his own case for the test at the Sept. 10 meeting of the Northwest Power and Conservation Council in Spokane. Haeseker said his analysis showed that more spill at federal dams (raising it to 125 percent TDG levels in tailraces) could boost ESA-listed salmon and steelhead to recovery level return rates. The analysis was not very convincing to federal scientists, who explained their concerns in the new draft BiOp. ...more
Newest Fish Plan Adds More Habitat Actions
Expert panels, convened in 2012, have looked at each habitat action in depth and have estimated juvenile fish survival improvements from both completed and future actions to restore habitat in tribu-taries and the estuary, a murky process that usually involves "best, professional judgment." ...more
Columbia Fall Chinook Run On Way To New Record
After a huge surge of fall Chinook went over Bonneville Dam last week, harvest managers met Sept. 12 to deal with the unexpected bounty. The unusual abundance made them a little too shy to speculate on how long it was going to last--but 250,000 fish had rolled in over the previous five days--more than half the run, since counting began Aug. 1. About 573,000 fall Chinook had been tallied at the dam by Sept. 11. ...more
Snake Fall Chinook Run Poised For Best Wild Return Since 1960's
The record run of upriver brights in the Columbia River has overshadowed another potential record--the fall run in the Snake looks like it will easily eclipse 2010's record of nearly 42,000 hatchery and wild fish counted at Lower Granite Dam, the largest run in many decades. ...more
Best Catches Ever For Some Sporties
This year's fall Chinook was expected to be really big, but not as big as it has turned out. The big surprise began around Sept. 4, after nearly 274,000 falls had been counted at Bonneville Dam. Above the dam, more than 700 tribal set nets were strung out in the choppy waters above the dam. Down in the lower river, sport fishers found the best catches since 1988. ...more
Idaho Sockeye Hatchery Open For Business
IDFG's new $13.5 million sockeye hatchery was dedicated Sept. 6, when officials gathered to officially open the facility for its singular purpose--to play a major role in restoring wild sockeye to Redfish Lake and other nearby lakes in the Stanley Basin. Those sockeye were the first Columbia Basin stock listed for protection under the ESA in 1991, and have been on life support ever since. ...more

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