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NFC: Fw: [currents] RiverCurrents Online -- Week of October 1, 1999

Robert Rice
It's official all Native Fish are now Y2K compliant check it out at

--------- Forwarded message ----------
From: "Julie Lowe" <jlowe at amrivers_org>
To: "currents List Member"  <robertrice at juno_com>
Date: Fri, 1 Oct 1999 16:37:59 -0400
Subject: [currents] RiverCurrents Online -- Week of October 1, 1999
Message-ID: <MDAEMON-F199910011638.AA385151MD42883 at amrivers_org>

Thanks for subscribing to RiverCurrents Online, the weekly summary of
river-related news. The goal of this service is to provide its readers a
quick look at the news and events concerning America's rivers each week.
This service is made possible by American Rivers. Questions, comments, or
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River News for the Week of October 1, 1999

SNAKE RIVER DAMS: Investing in highway and rail infrastructure would keep
grain transportation rates affordable if the four lower Snake River dams
removed, according to a former high-ranking Corps of Engineers official.
G. Edward Dickey, author of the report, Grain Transportation After
Removal of the Four Lower Snake River Dams: an affordable and efficient
transition plan, concludes that prudent, timely investments in rail and
highway infrastructure could provide an affordable transportation
alternative to the lower Snake River waterway. Dickey's report recommends
federal and state funding to upgrade highway and rail infrastructure, and
loans and grants to the private sector for grain elevators, terminals,
rail cars, reports an American Rivers press release (10/1).  Specific
investments would be identified by the states in collaboration with local
governments and stakeholders, and would be approved by the Secretary of
Army. Eliminating barge traffic on the Snake River would move the head of
navigation from Lewiston, Idaho to the Tri-Cities, Washington, near the
confluence of the Columbia and Snake rivers.  If the waterway is closed,
grain would be shipped to deepwater ports or Columbia River terminals.

In a related story, a new law will block the Bonneville Power
from collecting any money to pay for dam removal. As reports the Portland
Oregonian (9/30), the new restriction on BPA rates was attached by Sen.
Slade Gorton, R-Wash., to “head-off” removal of the four federal Snake
Dams, and is attached to an annual spending bill for energy and water
projects. In spite of the bill, the BPA still plans “to increase the
it charges for electricity to add $1 billion in reserves by 2006 to
that it can meet debt payments to the Treasury.”

    *     *     *

EDWARDS DAM AND FISH RETURN: For the first time in 162 years, striped
have returned to the 17-mile stretch of the Kennebec River that formerly
blocked to upstream fish by the Edwards Dam. Several striped bass were
caught in Winslow over the weekend as anglers convened at Fort Halifax
for "One Fly Fun Day," an annual fishing event sponsored by the Kennebec
Valley Chapter of Trout Unlimited. Renowned along the northeast coast of
United States as a prized sport fish, “stripers” can reach five feet in
length and weigh 110 lbs. The Kennebec was home to the largest population
resident Maine stripers until the Edwards Dam, built in 1837, decimated
populations by flooding critical habitat and preventing fish that migrate
from the ocean from reaching prime upstream spawning grounds, reports the
Kenenbe Coalition (9/27). On July 1, as the result of a precedent-setting
1997 decision by the Federal Energy Regulatory Commission (FERC), the
Edwards Dam was breached, enabling stripers and other migratory fish to
access 17 miles of spawning habitat from Augusta to Waterville. Removal
the dam has continued over the past two months and is expected to be
completed by late November.

    *     *     *

CHESAPEAKE BAY: City officials in Baltimore, MD have agreed to pay $3.5
million to settle a lawsuit that claimed discharges from a sewage plant
a water filtration plant polluted the Chesapeake Bay, reports the
Post (9/30). $1 million will be paid as a fine, and the other $2.5
will be spent on three water pollution runoff projects.

    *     *     *

SALMON RECOVERY IN THE NORTHWEST: Customers of the Salem Electric
Cooperative will be able to donate $5 to restore local salmon habitat at
same time they pay their monthly utility bill, reports the Portland
Oregonian (9/30).  Starting next month, the utility will be the first of
kind in the Northwest to attempt to collect salmon donations through its
utility bills. Donations will be strictly voluntary, and participants can
stop at any time. PG&E will kick off a similar program next year.

    *     *     *

PFIESTERIA PISCICIDA: Concerns over Pfiesteria piscicida in the
have caused consumers to cut back on their consumption of seafood,
the Washington Post (9/30).  2/3 of residents feel their local seafood is
unsafe due to the toxic microbe. A study by the University of Delaware
that consumers have not gotten over their Pfiesteria scare of two years
when an outbreak killed up to 50,000 fish in the Pocomoke River in and
sickened 13 people. The seafood industry has not fully recovered from
scare, though it launched a $500,000 advertising campaign to restore
confidence in the safety of the area’s seafood after the 1997 outbreak.

    *     *     *

MISSISSIPPI RIVER: Koch Petroleum Group has plead guilty to two
counts of committing environmental violations involving oil and
discharges at their plant in the mid-1990s and will pay $8 million in
criminal and restitution fines. The company was accused of violating the
Pollution Act and Clean Water Act by negligently discharging oil into a
wetland and pond and by circumventing wastewater-dumping requirements,
reports the Minnesota Pioneer Press (9/29). $6 million will be paid in
criminal fines, which is the largest federal environmental fine in
state history, and 2$ will be paid to the Dakota County park system as
restitution. As reports the Pioneer Press, “between 200,000 and 600,000
gallons of fuel spilled into the ground, with some reaching a wetland and
backwater area adjacent to the Mississippi River in 1997.”

    *     *     *

been order to protect the habitats of two endangered fish found in
and New Mexico. As reports the Associated Press (9/29), a federal judge
ordered the service to “identify, designate and protect by Jan. 28 all
streams necessary for the survival and recovery of the Loach minnow and
spikedace.” These fish are currently found in the Gila River basin of
southeast Arizona and southwest New Mexico.   Potential outcome of the
ruling could mean the protection of more than 200 miles of Arizona and
Mexico streams from mining, grazing and development.

    *     *     *

MISSOURI RIVER: Missouri state officials have requested more information
about how a draft Missouri River Management plan would affect navigation
the Missouri and Mississippi rivers before they can sign off on the final
version. This move is expected to delay the Army Corps of Engineer's
selection of a preferred option for management of the river, reports the
Omaha World Herald (9/26). In August, a coalition of eight Missouri River
basin states presented a draft plan for future management of the troubled
waterway, but Missouri State has asked for more information before they
on to this plan. Chad Smith of American Rivers supports the delay
action will cause, saying that improvements could be made to the draft
which deals primarily with river management in drought conditions and
doesn't resolve endangered species' needs.

    *     *     *

WASHINGTON FISHERIES: An initiative to ban most commercial net fishing in
the state of Washington will be voted on by Washington voters,
“destroying” commercial fishers. As reports the AP (9/27), Initiative 696
would ban most commercial net fishing in the state (other than in treaty
Indian tribal fisheries), canceling nearly half of the 3,214 state
commercial fishing licenses. Supporters of the ban say that “nets have
a big factor in the depletion of salmon runs and also kill birds and
wildlife.” Commercial fishers claim that the ban would not reduce the
harvest but would instead transfer their share of the catch to tribal

    *     *     *

CHATTAHOOCHEE RIVER: Secretary of the Interior Bruce Babbitt this week
advocated creation of a permanent fund to purchase land along the
Chattahoochee river in Georgia to preserve it from development. If
Georgia would receive almost $10.3 million a year from the Land and Water
Conservation Fund (LWCF). The funds would be part of the Lands Legacy
program, which would “provide almost $1 billion in federal money to
a variety of sites, historic spaces and open lands across the nation,”
reports US Newswire (9/30). Babbitt’s comments came during his visit
the Chattahoochee National Recreation Area along with Gov. Roy Barnes,
has advocated protecting more open space along the river.

    *     *     *

LOGGING IN THE NORTHWEST: A federal judge has ruled that 24 Oregon timber
sales in the Umpqua National Forest and Umpqua Basin around Roseburg, OR
cannot go forward until the federal government ensures they will not harm
fish listed under the Endangered Species Act. As reports the AP (10/1),
basin is home to endangered Umpqua cutthroat trout and threatened runs of
coho salmon. The ruling was a result of a lawsuit filed last January on
behalf of a number of fishing and environmental organizations by the
Earthjustice Legal Defense Fund. The sales must also comply with the
established in the Northwest Forest Plan governing logging in the
federal forests, according to the ruling.


For more news, visit American Rivers at www.amrivers.org