Collaboration key for Northwest salmon recovery

May 5, 2016
Chris Wood, President and CEO, Trout Unlimited, (703) 284-9403
Rob Masonis, Vice president for Western Conservation, Trout Unlimited (206) 491-9016
TU renews call for collaboration to restore Columbia and Snake river salmon after court rejects latest federal plan
PORTLAND Federal district court Judge Michael Simon rejected on May 4 the latest in a long series of deficient federal plans to recover Columbia and Snake river salmon and steelhead. The fish are imperiled and protected under the Endangered Species Act.
The latest plan, which was produced in 2014, was the fifth such plan rejected by a federal court since 2000.
In a strongly worded opinion, Judge Simon found the federal plan arbitrary and capricious on multiple grounds. Chief among his findings were that the plan did not take into account the best available science, applied faulty legal standards and ignored critical factual information.
For almost a decade, Trout Unlimited has called for political leadership to establish a collaborative forum to develop solutions to recover wild salmon while simultaneously addressing the economic needs of the communities along the Columbia and Snake rivers, said Chris Wood, president and CEO of TU. Judge Simons ruling underscores the urgent need for such a forum.
Though not a plaintiff in the litigation, Wood said the successful court challenge will help shift efforts away from defending the inadequate status quo to developing an effective salmon plan.
Wood also said that an effective recovery plan will not emerge from a federal court. Such a plan must be developed by the communities and interests that have the most at stake. That will require political leadership and a commitment on behalf of community leaders to set aside differences and look for common ground.
A future in which both people and wild salmon thrive in the Columbia and Snake basins is within our grasp if we summon the courage, vision and good will necessary to find it, Wood said.
Trout Unlimited is the nations oldest and largest coldwater fisheries conservation organization, boasting more than 150,000 members from coast to coast. TUs mission is to conserve and protect North Americas trout and salmon and their habitat. Follow TU on Facebook and Twitter, and keep up with TUs efforts to make fishing better for all.