Plight of the Pacific lamprey: Is it a keeper?

The fish is in serious trouble due to dams on the Lower Snake and Columbia Rivers

The Pacific Lamprey had seen drastic declines in population over the last few decades and is quickly becoming a rare sight. Last year it was estimated that only 30,000 crossed Bonneville Dam, down from 350 million to 400 million in the 60’s and 70’s.

via Plight of the Pacific lamprey: Is it a keeper?.
Seattle Times Newspaper

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12 – 15,000 birds dead of botulism near Pocatello, ID

Botulism outbreak at American Falls Reservoir is slowing down after a massive kill-

Die-offs due to botulism are often the result of standing, shallow, deoxygenated water on top of what are usually mud flats in late season. This is the indirect effect of the wet year in SE Idaho. Less water was needed from the reservoir. As a result it had more water in late season than for many years.

Bird die-off slows. Idaho State Journal.

A very unpleasant story. Perhaps different operation of the system of dams could have prevented the reservoir from being this full. This reservoir is not an isolated one, but part of a large system of reservoirs on the upper Snake River and its tributaries.

Bridger-Teton National Forest begins implementation of Snake River Headwaters Wild and Scenic Rivers bill

Thirteen rivers and creeks in the headwaters were protected by the Omnibus Public Lands Bill-

Forest staff to implement Snake protections. By The Associated Press. Billings Gazette.

Because the point of the bill is to keep things the way they are, keeping things the way they are doesn’t require a great amount of work to implement. However, there is some.

The bill designated 388 miles of wild, scenic or recreational rivers. The creeks and rivers included are portions of Bailey Creek, Blackrock Creek, Buffalo Fork of Snake River, Crystal Creek, Granite Creek, Gros Ventre River, Hoback River, Lewis, Pacific Creek, Shoal Creek, Snake River, Willow Creek, and Wolf Creek.

Turnabout: Idaho senators support Snake River protection bill

Larry Craig said to drop his opposition to protecting the Snake River in Wyoming-

Idaho Senator Mike Crapo, and especially idaho Senator Larry Craig, have dropped their opposition to the bill by Wyoming’s two U. S. senators to protect the Snake River and its headwaters tributaries as parts of the national Wild and Scenic Rivers system.

The Snake River rises in Wyoming, but runs through Idaho where much of it is diverted for irrigation.

The Snake River protection plan has advanced, but over the wishes of Idaho’s Larry Craig (who will be retired in a couple months, but could yet cause problems in the U.S. Senate).

Crapo too has opposed the protection of the Snake River. One reason for the change may be Crapo’s desire to advance his “Owyhee Initiative” in Idaho, which would designae a number of canyon areas as Wilderness and give preferments and advantages to Owyhee area ranchers. Both the Snake River Bill and the Owyhee Initiative are expected to be in a massive omnibus public land bill to be taken up in the likely “lame duck” session of Congress after the Nov. 4 election.

Story in the Jackson Hole News and Guide. Idaho Senators Now Support Snake River bill. By Noah Brenner

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Ban on drilling the Wyoming Range mountains may come in lame-duck session

Protection for the Snake River and the Wyoming Range mountains still coming?

This popular bill to keep the drilling rigs out of the steep, unstable, scenic Wyoming Range, south of Jackson Hole has stalled due to the election campaign.

It looks like there’s going to be a lame duck session of Congress. Harry Reid says he may add this bill and also the “Craig Thomas Snake Headwaters Legacy Act,” to add 387 miles of rivers and streams in the Snake River drainage to the national Wild and Scenic Rivers System, to an omnibus public lands bill.

These bills are sponsored by Wyoming’s Republican senators, two very conservative men. The leading opponents have been the natural gas drilling interests and Senator Larry Craig (who doens’t want protection for the Snake River, which flows into Idaho).

Senators may hear energy, river bills. By Noah Brenner, Jackson Hole News and Guide.

Owyhees bill hits a new snag

Owyhees bill hits a new snag. By Rocky Barker. Idaho Statesman.

Efforts to move the headwaters of the Snake River into the National Wild and Scenic Rivers System could derail Idaho Senator Mike Crapo’s Owyhees bill.

Once again the person troubling Crapo is Idaho’s other “more famous” senator, Larry Craig.

Craig who voted against protecting the Wyoming Range from gas drilling is also opposing the efforts of Wyoming’s senators to protect the Snake River (and many of its headwaters streams in Wyoming). Craig’s objection is about the stretch of the main Snake downstream from Jackson Lake (actually a reservoir).

Downstream irrigators in Idaho hold almost all the water rights to the Snake River. Craig thinks the protection bill as passed by the key Senate Committee, supported by Wyoming’s senators, will somehow hurt the interests of Idaho irrigators. The problem for Crapo arises if the Owyhee bill and the Snake River bill are put into a public lands legislative package. Democrats may drop the Owyhee bill from the package if the Republicans keep wrangling among themselves.

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More on this: Idaho irrigators fight Wyo effort. Casper Star Tribune.

Added May 11. Additional information on one of the reasons why the Owyhees matter to more than the livestock industry. Idaho, Oregon desert canyonlands offer early-season camping with amazing views. By Pete Zimowsky. Idaho Statesman.