[acn-l] ~~>FISHLINK SUBLEGALS 12/22/00<~~ (fwd)

PETER.UNMACK at asu.edu
Sun, 24 Dec 2000 14:53:55 -0700 (MST)

From: FISH1IFR at aol.com
Date: Sat, 23 Dec 2000 17:10:26 EST
Subject: ~~>FISHLINK SUBLEGALS 12/22/00<~~
To: AFS at wyoming.com, ACN-L at pinetree.org, crab-l at ios.bc.ca,
FishingForum at onelist.com, fishhabitat at mail.orst.edu,
salmon at riverdale.k12.or.us


VOL 2, NO. 25 22 DECEMBER 2000

RECOVERY PLAN RELEASED: On 21 December the interagency
Federal Caucus released its final recovery plan (Biological Opinion or
"BiOp") for the 12 Columbia and Snake River salmon and steelhead
stocks now federally listed under the Endangered Species Act (ESA)
(see Sublegals, 2:24/07). Billed as a comprehensive plan, and though
obviously an improvement over the 27 July draft, the plan is still long
on process and short on detail. Among its improvements, however,
are better cost estimates, a formal 3-year check-in assessment of
implementation in addition to the 5 and 8 year reviews called for in the
draft, better performance standards by which to judge success or
failure, and better monitoring.

The BiOp, however, still relies on smolt barging programs and
other artificial transportation methods which have been much
criticized by scientists as ineffective and even counterproductive and,
though it does not ultimately eliminate the option of breaching the four
lower Snake River dams if the measures in the plan to restore those
stocks fail, nor does it give that option the emphasis it deserves in
terms of funding engineering and mitigation studies. Furthermore,
many of the measures are left to other processes, such as Snake River
water adjudications and negotiations for additional water flow with
Idaho that are ongoing, and to watershed basin recovery plans. "All in
all, the plan is still very weak, and it is extremely doubtful whether for
the Snake River stocks all its non-breaching strategies combined could
ever ultimately provide enough benefit to be even equivalent to the
enormous benefit dam breaching would provide" commented
PCFFA's Northwest Regional Director Glen Spain. "Nevertheless, we
support the plan's general approach of doing the easiest things first, so
long as breaching remains the alternative if those efforts fail.
However, the weakest link is the intent of the in coming Bush
Administration and Congress. If they want to avoid dam breaching in
the Snake River, this plan is their only alternative, and therefore has to
be fully funded and fully implemented." The BiOp and Recovery Plan
documents are available at: http://www.salmonrecovery.gov.

In a 20 December letter, eight U.S. Senators concerned over the
plan's inadequacy wrote the Administration asking that the plan
include "a mechanism to trigger more aggressive action to prevent
extinction should the proposed non-dam removal strategies fail," and
also that "Specifically, we recommend that the plan be based on the
presumption that removal of the four lower Snake River dams will be
necessary in the next five years, unless there is evidence at that time
that the stocks can meet recovery standards without dam removal.
Such an approach assures that the fish are not forced to bear the risk
that the non-dam removal strategies will work." The letter also called
for development of a strategy for mitigating the likely economic
impacts should dam removal become the final option. The letter was
signed by Senators Boxer, Wellstone, Feingold, Kohl, Reid, Torricelli,
Lautenberg and Moynihan. For a copy contact the office of Senator
Barbara Boxer at (202)224-3553. More than 200 scientists from 27
states, including some of the west coast's foremost fisheries biologists,
have also asked the Administration to make sure beaching of the
Snake River dams is included among the measures called for by the
plan (for more information see the 19 December Oregonian at:

President-elect Bush made retaining the Snake River dams a key
point in his campaign, though he lost the vote in the State of
Washington and Senator Slade Gorton, a long-time anti-breaching foe,
also went down to defeat in November. However, Bush has offered no
plan of his own that would make the breaching alternative
unnecessary or would meet the obligations of the federal Endangered
Species Act, the Clean Water Act and Tribal Treaty obligations. The
Clinton Administration alternative plan, however, will be finalized
before the end of its term and therefore binding on a new
Administration unless it can come up with a legally and scientifically
better alternative.

RIVER: U.S. Interior Secretary Bruce Babbitt, as expected, signed his
Record of Decision (ROD) on Tuesday, to restore flows in the Trinity,
the major salmon producing tributary in the Klamath River system, to
48 percent of their historic level (see Sublegals, 2:24/05; 2:23/16;
2:20/02; 2:18/09), an increase of about 250,000 acre-feet annually.
PCFFA and Friends of the Trinity River have argued, based on
scientific studies, for a restoration of the flows to 70 percent of their
historic level. At one time, as much as 85 percent of the Trinity flow
was being diverted into the Sacramento River for the federal Central
Valley Project (CVP). Ocean salmon fishing offshore northern
California and Oregon is regulated largely based on Klamath-Trinity
stocks which have been devastated by two major federal reclamation
operations. (the CVP and the Klamath Reclamation Project).

There is some opposition to increasing flows, based on the current
California "energy crisis". Although some view "The energy crisis in
California due to lack of long range panning, conservation and
enormous government bundling in deregulation, not lack of flows in
trinity river," stated Glen Spain, Regional Director of the Northwest
PCFFA office. Spain also commented on the importance of the
increase in flows, and that "it does not make any sense to sacrifice
recreational and commercial fishing jobs by drying up the river that
support salmon runs, and its economially far more efficient to put
water in the river for fish and wildlife, and the jobs that they sustain,
than it is to worry about minimal energy impacts that would result."

final agreement was reached on a Commerce-Justice-States
appropriations bill that includes $2.275 million to fund an at-sea
observer program. West Coast groundfish fisheries are in a crisis and
many believe that an observer program is an essential tool for fisheries
managers to use to allow harvest of healthy fish stocks while avoiding
species that are in perilous decline. The federal spending package had
been delayed because an element of the package concerned the fate of
Alaskan Steller sea lions, mammals whose populations have declined
drastically over the past decade. Observers are a well-trained cadre of
men and women who work on board ocean-going vessels. Their job is
to document the boat's entire catch -including that which is dumped
overboard as excess or unwanted. The observers record species
numbers, size and age and transfer information to an electronic
database. This provides a basis to extrapolate the abundance of
specific species based on time and location. Fisheries managers can
also use the data to assess the impacts and selectivity of various types
of fishing gear. For additional information: Richard Methot, Research
Scientist National Marine Fisheries Service, Seattle Office (206) 860-
3365 or Victoria Cornish, National Observer Program, National
Marine Fisheries Service, Silver Spring, MD (301) 713-2328,

BEGINS: PacifiCorp, the owner of the Klamath Hydroelectric Project
in the Klamath Basin (including Iron Gate and the two Copco dams),
have issued formal notice with the Federal Energy Regulatory
Commission (FERC) of their intent to file for the relicense of these
dams throughout the Upper Klamath Basin. In a formal notice letter
dated 13 December, PacifiCorp began the relicensing process for
FERC Project Permit No. 2082 which covers six diversion dams (five
mainstem and one tributary), a water conveyance system with seven
miles of waterway, and seven powerhouses. The license expires on 1
March 2006.

The lowest structure, Iron Gate Dam, was built with no fish
passage, though some of the upper dams do have passage or passage
potential. One issue that relicensing will revolve around will be
whether or not fish passage can be installed in the dams sufficient to
help restore salmon and steelhead in the upper portions of the basin
that historically had abundant runs but which are now blocked.
PacifiCorp has commissioned and released an engineering assessment
of the current state of fish passage at its dams, "Fish Passage
Conditions on the Upper Klamath River," (July 2000) in preparation
for the relicensing process, which is available in hard copy from
PacifiCorp upon request. For a copy of the formal relicensing notice,
to get on the relicensing document distribution list or a copy of the fish
passage study, contact Todd Olson, Licensing Project Manager,
PacifiCorp, 825 NE Multnomah, Suite 1500, (503)813-6657.

TOXIC SITE: On 1 December, the lower end of Oregon's Willamette
River at the Portland harbor was formally qualified as among the
nation's most toxic waste sites and slated for cleanup under the
Comprehensive Environmental Response, Compensation and Liability
Act (CERCLA, 42 U.S.C 9601 et. seq.), known as "Superfund."

Oregon Governor John Kitzhaber had finally consented to the
listing by the US Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) after a year
of efforts to create a state-managed plan collapsed. Listing signals the
start of a massive cleanup effort which could take years and tens of
millions of dollars. The Willamette is a major tributary to the
Columbia and the home of several ESA listed salmon and steelhead
runs. For more complete information see:
12/lc_61epa01.frame. The Willamette River is a key to many Oregon
salmon restoration efforts. The Oregonian has been doing a series of
excellent articles on problems in the Willamette River with industrial
toxics, pesticides and deformed fish in its 17-20 December issues. For
these articles go to: http://www.oregonlive.com/special/river.

DAM SALES AND IMPACTS: On 20 November, the California
Public Utilities Commission (CPUC), which oversees all of
California's public utilities, announced a series of public hearings
starting on 29 January running through 5 March on Pacific Gas &
Electric's (PG&E) sweeping proposal to sell off a large portion of its
110 hyropower dams and 99 reservoirs in California. Divestiture to
private ownership would remove these facilities from under CPUC
jurisdiction and oversight, however, and make it exceedingly difficult
to correct the many adverse environmental impacts on fish and
wildlife. PCFFA has spearheaded efforts to have environmental
impacts of these dams addressed before full transfer, including
backing efforts in the last California Legislature (AB 1956 - Keeley)
to set up a stand-alone public entity to take title, clean them up and
resell them, which unfortunately failed to pass in the last flurry of the
legislative session. For more information on PCFFA's proposal see:

For the CPUC press release see:
which also contains the meeting schedules statewide. The draft EIS is
available on the Internet at: http://cpuc-pgehydro.support.net and may
be obtained in CD-ROM version upon request to:
public.advisor at cpuc.ca.gov or call the CPUC Public Advisor's Office
at (415)703-2074. Hardcopy versions are available as well at many
public locations as indicated in the press release.

The U.S. Department of Agriculture announced final adoption of the
first standards that the federal government has ever imposed for the
labeling and processing of organic. A congressional subcommittee has
yet to determine whether wild or farmed salmon products can be
called "organic" under new organic food-labeling standards announced
in Washington, D.C., 19 December. The U.S. Agriculture Secretary
Dan Glickman announced the nation's first organic standards for food
producers and farmers -- marking the first time such standards have
been issued to govern what foods can be called "organic" at production
and marketing stages.The new standards, which were ordered by
Congress and then took the department more than a decade to produce,
ban the use of irradiation, biotechnology and sewer-sludge fertilizer
for any food labeled organic.The department planned to allow the use
of all three methods when it introduced proposed regulations in 1997.
But after comment from almost 300,000 people protesting their
inclusion, the agency withdrew that proposal and started over.Other
major provisions of the rules issued today ban synthetic pesticides and
fertilizers in the growing of organic food, and antibiotics in meat
labeled organic. These bans were a part of the earlier proposal. The
Subcommittee of the National Organic Standards Board is addressing
such issues as whether wild, farmed or both products could be
approved as "organic" under the new rules. The new standards will
take effect in 60 days. After that date, farmers and producers have 18
months to comply with the rules if they intend to sell their products
with an "organic" label. The new standards are the most
comprehensive in the world, adding that he believes they will promote
expansion in the $6 billion organic food industry. Among the
standards' stipulations: For more information see

2:25/08. NEW MPA WEB SITE: A new site on Marine Protected
Areas (MPAs) -- http://mpa.gov -- provides information as required
by Executive Order 13158 by President Clinton. The site is jointly
managed by the U.S. Department of Commerce and the U.S.
Department of the Interior. They shall also publish and maintain a list
of MPAs that meet the definition of MPA for the purposes of this
order. The United States has embarked on a major ocean conservation
initiative to protect important natural and cultural resources from loss
and degradation.

Following the vision laid out in Executive Order 13158 by
President Clinton the Department of Commerce (represented by the
National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA)), the
Department of the Interior and other federal agencies " . . . will (a)
strengthen the management, protection, and conservation of existing
MPAs and establish new or expanded MPAs;(b) will develop a
scientifically based, comprehensive national system of MPAs
representing diverse U.S. marine ecosystems, and the Nation''s natural
and cultural resources; and (c) avoid causing harm to MPAs through
federally conducted, approved, or funded activities." To that end, this
site will present the evolving vision of the national MPA system, and
will make accessible the scientific information, technical tools and
management strategies needed to design and effectively manage
MPAs. It will also consolidate a variety of information on marine
protected area literature and developments. This site is intended to
actively promote the free exchange of information on MPAs and
efforts to implement Executive Order 13158. It is designed to be a
gateway for government agencies, institutions, groups and individuals
to participate in this national endeavor. It is our hope that the site will
be used regularly by people in government, Congress, academia,
conservation, industry, and the general public.

Special Session on The Geology of Marine Habitat will be held during
the 2001 meeting of the Geological Association of Canada (GAC),
May 27-31, in St. John's, Newfoundland. The purpose of this special
session is to bring together an international, multidisciplinary group of
marine scientists (both geo- and bioscientists) with a common interest
in fostering a better understanding of marine habitat through the study
of the seabed substrate and the processes that influence its character.
The Geology of Marine Habitat website at
http://www.pgc.nrcan.gc.ca/~mgd/habitat.htm. The website for the
2001 GAC is http://www.geosurv.gov.nf.ca/stjohns2001/. The first
circular has just been issued and can be requested online from the
organizing committee. The abstract submission deadline is 15 January
2001. If you have any questions about this Special Session contact
Brain Todd (todd at agc.bio.ns.ca) or Dick Pickrill
(pickrill at agc.bio.ns.ca).

Europeans continue to panic about the spread of mad cow disease and
decreases in beef consumption, the Scientific Committee for Food
released a report saying that fish from both fish farms and the region's
seas are regularly contaminated by dioxin and other similar toxins.
Dioxin, linked to hormone changes, cancer in animals and other severe
disorders is found in fish meal and fish oils of European origin at
levels up to eight times greater than in those of nonindustrial regions.
"Nobody is saying we can't eat fish anymore [but] if you eat fish
every day, you are likely to have a problem", says Johan Reyniers of
the European Union. For more information see:
www.nytimes.com/2000/12/17/world/17DIOX.html .

COMMITTEE MEETING: The Pacific Fishery Management
Council's (PFMC) Ad-Hoc Groundfish Strategic Plan Implementation
Oversight Committee (SPOC) will a hold work session, which is open
to the public, on Wednesday - Thursday, 10-11 January, at the Pacific
States Marine Fisheries Commission (PSMFC) offices in Gladstone,
OR. For more information, contact the PFMC at (503) 326-6352.

GORTON BUDGET LANGUAGE: Congressional budget language,
authored by recently defeated Senator Slade Gorton (R-WA), that
would have prevented the National Marine Fisheries Service (NMFS)
from speeding up Endangered Species Act (ESA) permitting processes
was removed from the recently- approved appropriations bill. Gorton
had tried to cut $13 million slated to increase NMFS permit staff. But
the funding survived a conference committee and remained in the full
appropriations bill approved shortly before the 2001 Congress
adjourned. For more information go to:
http://www.newsdata.com/enernet/fishletter/fishltr115.html#8 .

IN LaJOLLA: The Pacific Fishery Management Council's (PFMC)
HighlyMigratory Species Plan Development Team (HMSPDT) and
Highly MigratorySpecies Advisory Subpanel (HMSAS) will hold
work sessions, which are open to the public, on 8-9
January in the large conference room at NMFS Southwest Fisheries
Science Center, 8604 La Jolla Shores Drive, Room D-203 in La Jolla.
For more information, contact the PFMC at (503) 326-6352.

2:25/14. BUSH CABINET SELECTIONS: President-elect George
W. Bush picked New Jersey Governor Christine Todd Whitman today
as administrator of the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA). As
governor, Whitman's most significant environmental achievement
was her move to preserve 1 million acres from development in New
Jersey, the nation's most densely populated state. But environmental
groups have been cool to her nomination as administrator of the
E.P.A., saying that in order to attract business to New Jersey she
compromised water pollution protections and cut spending for state
offices that oversee environmental regulations. If confirmed as
administrator of the E.P.A., she will be in charge of enforcement of
two of the most far-reaching federal environmental laws: the Clean
Water Act of 1977 and the Superfund program. She is also the
chairwoman for the Pew Ocean Commission, which Pietro Parravano,
the President of IFR and PCFFA also sits on.

Bush also chose Donald L. Evans, top political fund-raiser as
Secretary of Commerce. Evans is a Texan oilman and was the
chairman of the Bush-Cheney 2000 campaign and the national finance
chairman for Bush's campaigns for governor of Texas in 1994 and
1998. Under the Department of Commerce is the National Oceanic &
Atmospheric Administration (NOAA), which includes the National
Marine Fisheries Service (NMFS), the National Weather Service and
the nation's coastal and oceans programs.

CLOSURE: The National Marine Fisheries Service (NMFS) on 20
December published in the Federal Register (Vol. 65, No.245,
pp.79784-79785) it final rule on removal of the existing closure to
commercial groundfish fishing with trawl gear within critical habitat
designated for Steller sea lions in the exclusive economic zone (EEZ)
off Alaska west of 144 deg. W.long. and closes this area to
commercial fishing for Pacific cod through 31 December. The removal
of the existing closure is consistent with the 5 December Order of the
United States District Court for the Western District of Washington.
According to NMFS, the new closure is intended to ensure that Steller
sea lions are adequately protected based on conclusions in a biological
opinion issued 30 November (see Sublegals, 2:21/02).

items, comments or any corrections to Natasha Benjamin, Editor at:
ifrfish at aol.com or call the IFR office with the news and a source at
either: (415) 561-FISH (Southwest Office) or (541) 689-2000
(Northwest Office).

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