A federal judge has granted a stay in litigation seeking to save endangered salmon runs on the Columbia and Snake rivers.
U.S. District Judge Michael Simon in Portland, granted a request by both sides in the lawsuit seeking the stay until July 31st, 2022, so they can try to negotiate a settlement in the lawsuit.
Fishing and conservation groups joined with the state of Oregon, the Nez Perce Tribe and the Biden administration to seek the pause in litigation challenging the latest federal plan for hydropower operations on the Snake and Columbia rivers that are blamed by many for killing salmon.
The federal lawsuit, filed against the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers, Bureau of Reclamation, Bonneville Power Administration, U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service, and the National Marine Fisheries Service, involves the most recent plan for dam operations issued by the Trump administration in late 2020.
The conservation groups, along with the state of Oregon and the Nez Perce, sued to block the plan and filed a request for an immediate injunction to dramatically increase water flow through the dams to help salmon migrate through the Snake and Columbia rivers to the ocean to mature.
The two sides last week told the judge they had reached an agreement on how eight federal dams in the Columbia River Basin will be operated over the coming year. It includes additional spill of water past the dams at certain times of year to aid fish migration, while still preserving reliable hydropower production, transportation and other services provided by the dams.
It’s believed that increasing the amount of water next spring for a brief time will help juvenile salmon pass through the dams and avoid the fish-killing turbines during migration. (AP)