Thursday April 18, 2024

Courthouse News Service

Conservationists in the Pacific Northwest want to prevent the extinction of wild salmon and reduce harm to endangered Southern Resident killer whales. And they claim in a federal lawsuit filed Wednesday that federal and state fish hatchery programs in the Lower Columbia River Basin are causing harm to both species.

Wild Fish Conservancy, a Washington-state based nonprofit, and The Conservation Angler, headquartered in Portland, Oregon, focused their lawsuit on certain salmon and steelhead hatchery programs in the portion of the basin below the Bonneville Lock and Dam.

The stretch of the Columbia River at issue runs 146 miles between the borders of Oregon and Washington state from the dam to the Pacific Ocean. But while encompassing less than 12% of the Columbia River’s total length, the river’s lower basin and its tributaries feature over 30 dams and several other flow control structures that have contributed to the region’s depleting fish populations in various ways.

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