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NFC: Fw: [Updates] River Policy Update -- Week of April 24, 2000
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American Rivers Policy Update
For the week of April 24, 2000
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IMPENDING FEDERAL ACTION
Comment Period on Snake River Dams Extended to April 30:
Federal agencies will soon decide whether to remove dams to aid rapidly
declining salmon runs. The public comment period, which opened in
will has been extended by a month to April 30. To voice your opinion,
For more information, visit www.amrivers.org.
AMERICAN RIVERS ACTION NETWORK
To receive action alerts in addition to this River Policy Update, visit
area on American Rivers’ Action Network at
http://www.actionnetwork.org/home.tcl?domain=AMRIVERS and check off the
river issues you want to take action on.
ENDANGERED SPECIES AND WILDLIFE
Snake River Salmon Issue Gets Another Hearing:
On Thursday, the House Resources Committee will hold the next in a long
line of hearings about the endangered salmon runs of the Snake River and
four large federal dams on the lower portion of the river that block
When Lewis and Clark traveled on the Snake River in 1805, five to eight
million wild adult salmon returned from the Pacific Ocean to the Snake
year. Today, that number has been reduced to a mere five thousand. Many
organizations, citizens, and scientists have stated that the primary
culprits in this tragic decline are four federal dams on the Lower Snake
River. These dams have turned the free flowing Snake into a series of
water pools and created lethal obstacles to migrating adult and juvenile
fish. As a result, they assert that the best – and possibly only – way to
ensure the survival of the five endangered species of Snake River salmon
steelhead trout is to partially remove the four Lower Snake River dams
allow the river to flow naturally. The United States is obligated to
the Snake River salmon, under the Endangered Species Act and a number of
treaties with Native Americans and Canada.
Members of the House Resources Committee will travel to Pasco,
near the confluence of the Snake and Columbia rivers, to hear testimony
federal, state, and tribal officials and academics on steps that can be
taken in the short-term to help salmon and to examine the state of salmon
The hearing will be held at 10 a.m. on April 27 in the theater at
Basin College in Pasco, Washington. House Resources contacts are Bob
majority, 202-225-8331 and Steve Lanich, minority, 202-226-2311.
Striped Bass Discussion in House:
The House Resources Subcommittee on Fisheries Conservation, Wildlife,
Oceans will hold a field hearing in New Jersey to discuss reauthorization
a 1984 law aimed at restoring populations of Atlantic striped bass. The
Atlantic Stripped Bass Conservation Act (PL 98-613) developed from an
interstate conservation plan developed by the Atlantic States Marine
Fisheries Commission to reduce pressure on striped bass, whose numbers
dropped significantly in the 1970’s due to commercial fishing, increased
estuary pollution, and habitat loss or degradation. Striped bass spend
first two years of their lives in estuaries before moving to the ocean as
adults. The fish then return to rivers and bays to spawn.
The protections instituted by the 1984 law seem to be a success, and the
number of striped bass has rebounded in recent years. In 1995, the
commission declared that the fish had recovered and developed a new plan
phase in amended fishing restrictions, gradually allowing states to
their catch. In 1997, Congress reauthorized the 1984 law with funding
through FY’00, which ends in October.
On Friday, members of the subcommittee will hear from a number of
about one of the ongoing questions related to the health of striped bass
populations – their interaction and competition with bluefish. Striped
and bluefish, both of which are prized by recreation fishers, compete for
the same food sources and eat each other. Some believe that the species
cannot both be abundant at the same time, while others claim that the
apparent drop in bluefish numbers is actually a shift in bluefish further
out to sea from striper competition. There is also an argument that
commercial fishing is depriving both species of sufficient food. A study
the interrelationship between stripers and bluefish is ongoing.
The field hearing is set for 10 a.m. on Friday, April 28 in Room 119 of
county administration building, 101 Hooper Avenue, Toms River, New
House resources contacts are Jeff Ripp, majority, 202-226-0200 and Jean
Flemma, minority, 202-226-2311.
Colorado Fish Aid Under Discussion:
On Tuesday, the Senate Energy Subcommittee on Water and Power will hold
hearing on a bill to allow the Bureau of Reclamation to aid projects
at recovering species of endangered fish in the Colorado and San Juan
Basins. The Upper Colorado River is home to fourteen native fish species.
Four of those native species are currently listed as endangered – the
Colorado pikeminnow, razorback sucker, bonytail chub, and humpback chub.
pikeminnow and razorback are also endangered in the San Juan River, a
tributary to the Colorado.
S. 2239, introduced by Senators Wayne Allard, R-CO), Ben Nighthorse
Campbell (R-CO), Orrin Hatch (R-UT), Robert Bennett (R-UT), and Jeff
Bingaman (D-NM), would authorize $100 million over 5-7 years for habitat
development and management, water rights acquisition for instream flows,
non-native fish management, hatchery construction and operation,
fish stocking, research, and public education projects. The Senators fear
that further declines in the populations of the fish, or failure to
them, could lead to restrictions on current and future water diversions
use in the upper basin states.
Senator Wayne Allard stated that the proposal has the support of
New Mexico, Utah, and Wyoming as well as the Colorado River Energy
Distributors Association, the Upper Colorado River Endangered Fish
Implementation Program, environmental organizations such as Environmental
Defense and the Nature Conservancy, the Southern Ute Indian Tribe, and
Colorado Water Congress, among others.
The hearing is set for 2:30 p.m. on April 25 in 366 Dirksen. Senate
contacts are Jim Bierne, majority, 202-224-4971 and David Brooks,
PARKS AND PUBLIC LANDS
Revenue Sharing Bill to Senate Floor:
As early as Friday, the Senate could bring to the floor a bill to
the level of revenue-sharing payments to rural counties from natural
resource development receipts. The Senate Energy Committee approved S.
the Secure Rural Schools and Community Self-Determination Act, on April
By law, states receive a portion of the fees from logging in national
forests and certain lands managed by the Bureau of Land Management in
Oregon. The states then distribute the funds to counties for public
and other local needs. Some counties have been left short of cash due to
decline in production of timber on federal lands, which has reduced the
amount paid out of the revenue-sharing program.
A number of environmental organizations oppose the bill, fearing it
serve as an incentive to increase logging in environmentally sensitive
areas. Despite these concerns, the Clinton Administration has developed
own bill and has been negotiating with Senators Ron Wyden (D-OR) and
Craig (R-ID). The Administration has threatened to veto some versions of
revenue-sharing legislation that have not decoupled county payments from
logging as requested by the White House. On November 3, the House passed
own version of the legislation.
Senate to Look at Wild and Scenic Rivers Bills:
This week, the Senate Energy Subcommittee on National Parks will discuss
two bills to add new rivers to the national Wild and Scenic Rivers
S. 2352, introduced in April by Senator Bob Graham (D-FL), would
45.5 miles of Wekiva River and its tributaries of Rock Springs Run and
Seminole Creek in Florida as part of the river protection system. The
has been under study for inclusion in the system since 1996 by the
Park Service, which concluded that the river was eligible for
If added to the Wild and Scenic Rivers System, the Wekiva would be the
second river in Florida to be protected under the system. The only
designation in the state is the Loxahatchee River. Senator Graham stated
that the Wekiva deserves designation based on its outstanding scenic,
recreational, fishery, wildlife, historic, cultural, and water quality
values. On April 13, a subcommittee of the House Resources Committee
approved H.R. 2773, a companion bill that would protect a total of 41.6
miles along Wekiva River and its tributaries of Rock Springs Run and
On Thursday, the subcommittee will also discuss adding a 23.3-mile
of Wilson Creek in North Carolina to the Wild and Scenic Rivers System.
Wilson Creek flows from Grandfather Mountain in Avery County to johns
in Caldwell County. The bill includes a provision to bar condemnation of
The hearing is set for 2:30 p.m. on April 27 in 366 Dirksen. Senate
contacts are Jim O’Toole, majority, 202-224-5161 and David Brooks,
On the Senate Floor this week:
S. 1608, the Secure Rural Schools and Community Self-Determination Act.
S. 1949, the John H. Chafee Environmental Education Act.
S. 1752, the Coastal Barrier Resources Reauthorization Act.
Nominations of Michael McCabe as Deputy Administrator of the
Protection Agency and Eric Eberhard as trustee of the Udall Foundation.
April 25, 2:30 p.m.: Senate Energy Subcommittee on Water and Power
on a bill to aid fish on the Upper Colorado and San Juan Rivers.
April 26, 2:30 p.m.: Senate Energy Subcommittee on Forests and Public
Management hearing on bills to protect large expanses of Bureau of Land
Management Land in Nevada and Utah (S. 2273) and conserve cliffs,
mesas, and paleonthological resources of the San Rafael Swell in eastern
Utah (S. 2048). Location: 366 Dirksen.
April 27, 9:30 a.m.: Senate energy Committee hearing on energy
with testimony from Federal Energy Regulatory Commission officials.
Location: 216 Hart.
April 27, 10 a.m.: House Resources Committee field hearing on Snake River
salmon. Location: The theater at Columbia Basin College in Pasco,
April 27, 2:30 p.m.: Senate Energy Subcommittee on National Parks hearing
two Wild and Scenic Rivers bills. Location: 366 Dirksen.
April 28, 10 a.m.: House Resources Subcommittee on Fisheries
Wildlife, and Oceans field hearing Atlantic striped bass conservation.
Location: Room 119, County Administration Building, 101 Hooper Avenue,
River, New Jersey.
LINKS TO PAST UPDATES:
April 17: http://www.amrivers.org/policy4-17.html
April 10: http://www.amrivers.org/policy4-10.html
April 3: http://www.amrivers.org/policy4-3.html
March 27: http://www.amrivers.org/policy3-27.html
March 20: http://www.amrivers.org/policy3-20.html
March 13: http://www.amrivers.org/policy3-13.html
March 6: http://www.amrivers.org/policy3-6.html
February 28: http://www.amrivers.org/policy2-28.html
February 21: http://www.amrivers.org/policy2-21.html
February 14: http://www.amrivers.org/policy2-14.html
February 7: http://www.amrivers.org/policy2-7.html
January 31: http://www.amrivers.org/policy1-31.html
January 24: http://www.amrivers.org/policy1-24.html
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Legislative information taken from many sources including Thomas,
Congressional Greensheets, Greenwire, and Roll Call.
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Washington, DC 20005
smcdowell at amrivers_org
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