Salmon on the Snake River could be saved without breaching dams, according to a draft federal report to be released today, but agencies and citizens in the Northwest would need to make some drastic and potentially painful changes. Stringent controls on fishing, development, logging, and grazing would be needed throughout the Columbia Basin to save the fish, says the report by the National Marine Fisheries Service and other federal agencies. NMFS spokesperson Brian Gorman said yesterday that either the Northwest states must get serious about protecting salmon habitat or the agency might be forced to recommend that four Snake River dams be breached. Enviros praised the report’s frank assessment of the poor state of salmon, but criticized it for not recommending breaching now. The complete report is to be released in mid-December, public hearings will be held early next year, and NMFS is scheduled to recommend in May whether the dams should be breached.

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