Wednesday April 6, 2022

The Spokesman-Review

The Biden administration reiterated Monday its determination to change course on the decades-long, $17 billion effort to recover wild salmon in the Snake and Columbia rivers and to uphold the treaty rights of the Nez Perce and other tribes of the basin.

But it did not say how it hopes to improve those efforts, which have yet to prove successful.

Four runs of Snake River salmon and steelhead and nine others in the Columbia River basin are protected under the Endangered Species Act. Several tribes in the basin signed treaties in the mid 1800s that ceded millions of acres of land to the federal government but reserved, among other things, their rights to hunt and fish in “usual and accustomed places.”

Senior members of the administration including Interior Secretary Deb Haaland, Energy Secretary Jennifer M. Granholm and Council on Environmental Quality Chairwoman Brenda Mallory, held “nation-to-nation” remote meetings with Columbia Basin tribes last week. Representatives from six of the tribes gathered at the Clearwater River Casino on the Nez Perce Reservation for the talks.

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