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Know the West

Grass-roots strategy for salmon

  Hoping to sway the outcome of a pending federal recovery plan for Snake River salmon, 45 environmental and fishing groups have come up with a plan of their own. The groups, all members of the Save Our Wild Salmon Coalition, recently presented their 45-page recommendation, Wild Salmon Forever, to the National Marine Fisheries Service. It calls for eliminating grazing's impact on fish habitat, regulating farming and mining sources of pollution more strictly, and adopting watershed-friendly logging practices. The report also suggests some far-reaching dam reform measures, including a ban on new dams within anadromous fish habitat and a periodic review of existing dams to determine if they should be relicensed or torn down. The coalition wants an end to barging fish around dams, more water released through dam spillways to keep fish from deadly turbines, and reservoirs drawn down to speed the current taking fish to the ocean. The coalition estimates these measures will create restoration jobs and cost the average customer of hydroelectricity no more than an extra $1.50 per month. Since the salmon industry supported 60,000 jobs in 1988, and generated $1 billion, the report says the Northwest can't afford not to fully revive the salmon runs of the past. The coalition received funding from several charitable trusts and foundations, and includes a wide variety of groups from the Federation of Fly Fishers to the Alaska Trollers Association and the Pacific Rivers Council. For a free copy of Wild Salmon Forever call 800/767-7256.