Bush Administration Won’t Remove Northwest Dams to Save Salmon

The Bush administration announced yesterday that it will not remove dams from the Columbia and Snake rivers in the Northwest as part of its efforts to save endangered salmon runs. According to Bob Lohn of the National Marine Fisheries Service, “Our work shows that you can achieve recovery without removing the dams.” The agency said that improvements in ocean conditions, combined with the installation of removable spillway weirs that can guide young fish through the dams, will push forward the recovery of endangered salmon, which NMFS claims is already underway. The policy marks a sharp break from four years ago, when federal agencies acknowledged that breaching the dams would be the most scientifically certain way to save the fish. John Kober of the National Wildlife Federation, which is leading a lawsuit over river operations in federal court, said that the agencies’ reversal was a gift to President Bush’s reelection campaign (Bush has promised not to breach the dams) that contradicts “decades of experience and volumes of their own scientific data.”