The 9th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals has affirmed an order to spill more water over lower Columbia and Snake river dams to help protect salmon and steelhead.
U.S. District Court Judge Michael Simon ruled last spring that the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers must spill more water through spillways, rather than turbines. The National Marine Fisheries Service appealed, but a three-judge Appeals Court panel rejected it yesterday. The new spill operations begin today at some dams on the Columbia and Snake Rivers.
Conservationists say the extra water will help young salmon migrate out to sea. Conservation groups say this marks the fourth time since 2005 that increased spill has been mandated by the court.
Eastern Washington Republican U.S. Representative Dan Newhouse hosted a press conference in Tri-Cities yesterday opposing the court-mandated spill order scheduled to begin today at the eight lower Snake River and lower Columbia River dams.
The appeals court judges agreed that salmon populations remain in a “precarious” state. Eric Tegethoff has more.