Judge Redden said the Bush Plan for salmon wasn’t good enough, Obama thinks it is.
Well, here is another example of how the Obama Administration has followed the lead of the Bush Administration on environmental issues. As we can see from the Gulf Oil Spill those policies are literally a disaster. While salmon returns have been good the last few years and numbers are high for returning Chinook this year, it should be pointed out that the bulk of these fish are hatchery fish and not those protected under the ESA. It should also be noted that the return of jacks, or male Chinook that spend only one year in the ocean as compared to two or three, is about 72% of the 10-year average which is an indication that next year’s run will likely be lower.
At least, as far as much of Idaho is concerned, habitat is hardly a concern. With the exception of the Lemhi River and a few other places, Idaho has pristine salmon habitat available, there just aren’t enough fish to use it except for hatchery fish which have less success spawning in the wild and have less genetic vigor, there are just more of them because the hatchery gives them protection.
NOAA Fisheries, the agency responsible for recovery of Columbia Basin Salmon, thinks everything is fine with their recovery plan which differs very little from previous plans which Judge Redden has thrown out. They think that the dams are just part of the natural, or as Bush described it an immutable, part of the landscape, and that they just have to collect the fish and put them in barges. But, as a recent study that Roger Phillips points out, steelhead that stay in the river during their downstream migration stray less, and have higher spawning success. NOAA Fisheries, earlier this year because of predicted low flows, wanted to not spill any water and collect all of the fish onto barges but, shortly after a panel of scientists recommended that a mixed strategy of spilling and barging was better, they bowed and went with that strategy.
It seems, once again, that Obama doesn’t give a hoot about environmental issues. Maybe it has something to do with the fact that the run of the mill Conservationist/Democrat doesn’t hold politicians accountable and rushes in with their support before they really examine their bona fides (Walt Minnick and Keith Allred come to mind). Or maybe there is another strategy at play here, maybe Obama wants the Judge to make the call against him so he doesn’t have to take the blame for the inevitable political backlash from industry that would come from having an actual plan that would recover salmon rather than maintain the status quo. Maybe I’m too cynical, or too gullible because I voted for the guy.
The Feds: No major changes for Columbia Basin salmon.
By ABBY HAIGHT Associated Press