MARCH, 1995     NUMBER 17

Table of Contents:

I. Federal

II. Regional III. Idaho IV. Alaska V. California VI. Oregon VII. Washington VIII. Miscellaneous IX. Updates



The 104th Congress will try to do what two previous Congresses were unable to accomplish -- reauthorize the Clean Water Act. A strong Clean Water Act (CWA) is critical to commercial and recreational fishing interests because of its protection of fish and shellfish habitat. Non-point source pollution, toxics, private property rights, watershed planning, and wetlands protection will all be debated in the reauthorization. There are concerns that the Clean Water Act will be weakened in this Congress because of the current legislative trend opposing federal regulation.

In the House, the Clean Water Act reauthorization bill, H.R. 961, was introduced February 15 by Representative Bud Shuster (R-Pa.), Chair of the House Transportation and Infrastructure Committee. Below are some elements of H.R. 961:

Wetlands: Language replaces the Section 404 program (the part of the Clean Water Act that oversees wetlands protection) with a "wetlands protection" program where landowners whose land is "taken" through federal regulation receive compensation. The bill also contains a wetlands ranking system, like that proposed last year by Representative Jimmy Hayes (D-La.).

Non-Point Source Pollution: H.R. 961 calls for the states, instead of the federal government, to administer non-point source pollution. The bill does not contain mandatory federal enforcement procedures if voluntary state programs fail. On a positive note, the bill does provide funding for state polluted runoff programs.

Unfunded Mandates: While unfunded mandate legislation (H.R. 5, S. 1) is on its way to becoming law (see below), it will not take effect until October 1, 1995 at the earliest. H.R. 961 contains language which would direct the EPA to analyze the costs of Clean Water Act implementation costs.

Risk Assessment: The bill contains provisions requiring risk assessment be completed for each standard, effluent limitation, or other requirements under the Clean Water Act. Also no regulation could be established where the social, environmental, or economic benefits are not reasonably related to anticipated cost.

Reaction to H.R. 961:

According to the Clean Water Network:

The Shuster Bill would weaken current protections in many ways. Wetlands would have almost no real protection from developers, oil companies, and other[s]... The proposal’s watershed planning section could be used to allow point source discharges including industries and wastewater treatment facilities to decrease their efforts to abate pollution. All cities under 100,000 people would be permanently exempted from rules to prevent stormwater runoff. H.R. 961 will weaken the toxic contamination criteria allowing more toxics in the water. It contains horrible sections that would ....delay EPA actions with lengthy and unnecessary ‘risk assessments’ and ‘cost analyses;’ and exempt states from complying with the requirements if the full costs are not covered by the federal taxpayers.

NOW WHAT: Markup for S. 961 is scheduled for March 29-31 in the water resources and the environment subcommittee, which is chaired by Representative Sherwood Boehlert (R-NY). Full committee markup is expected in early April.

WHAT YOU CAN DO: The Clean Water Act is crucial to protecting clean water, plentiful wetlands and healthy watersheds upon which the fishing industry depends. Nearly everyone in the fisheries and environmental community agrees that the law needs improvements, not weakening. One of the messages coming from Capitol Hill is that legislators are not hearing enough from fisheries interests regarding the Clean Water Act.

Write your Congressperson: U.S. House of Representatives, Washington, D.C. 20515; and U.S. Senate, Washington, D.C. 20510. Below is list of West Coast Representatives on the House Public Works and Transportation Committee:

Bill Baker (R-Calif.)
Norm Mineta (D-Calif.)
Steve Horn (R-Calif.)
Walter Tucker III (D-Calif.)
Andrea Seastrand (R-Calif.)
Peter DeFazio (D-Oreg.)
Randy Tate (R-Wash.)
Bob Filner (D-Calif.)
Jay C. Kim (R-Calif.)
Don Young (R-Alaska)

Also, if your group is not part of the Clean Water Network, a 500 plus member coalition of environmental, recreational and commercial fishing groups interested in a strong Clean Water Act, you may want to consider joining. They provide timely updates regarding the reauthorization.

For Further Information Contact: Ms. Robyn Roberts, Coordinator, Clean Water Network, 1350 New York Ave. N.W., Washington D.C. 20005, ph: (202) 624-9357; fax: (202) 783-5917.


Below is a brief overview of what is happening with the "Job Creation and Wage Enhancement Act" of 1995 (H.R. 9) and related bills. Environmental protection is not specifically talked about in the contract’s provisions on unfunded mandates, regulatory reform, and private property (takings). However, as currently written, language in the contract (and associated legislation) will likely weaken fish habitat protection standards.

1. Unfunded Mandates In Conference

Unfunded mandates are the result of state and local governments claiming they are unable to fund the cost of implementing federal regulations without federal financial assistance. Unfunded mandate legislation passed both the House (H.R. 5) and the Senate (S.1) by wide margins. The bills are now in a House-Senate Conference Committee to work out minor differences. The major provisions of the bills are as follows:

2. Private Property

H.R. 9 (Title IX): Language requires that a private property owner receive compensation for any reduction in property value that is "measurable and not negligible," resulting from an agency action ("not negligible" is defined as a reduction in value of 10 percent or more). Additionally, the bill provides for arbitration procedures and requires a stay of agency action pending resolution of the property owner’s claim.

H.R. 790: The "Private Property Owners Bill of Rights," was introduced by Representative W.J. "Billy" Tauzin (D-La.) and several cosponsors. It provides that a property owner be compensated for a reduction in property value of 50 percent or more due to agency action.

H.R. 925: The "Private Property Protection Act of 1995," introduced by Representative Charles Canady (R-Fla.), would require that the federal government compensate landowners for limits placed on private property, but only if those limits were a result of regulations under the Endangered Species Act or wetlands protection programs, and if the reduction of the value amounted to at least one third of the original property value.

H.R. 971: In a more environmentally friendly takings bill, Representatives Ron Wyden (D-Ore.) and Wayne Gilchrest (R-Md.) recently introduced "The Homeowners Empowerment and Protection Act." It would allow property owners to sue neighboring polluters if they suffer a decrease in property values.

Other private property bills introduced include: S. 22 (Dole {R-Kan.}), S. 135 (Hatch {R-Utah}), S. 145 (Gramm {R-Texas}), H.R. 489 (Smith {R-Texas}).

3. Risk Assessment And Regulatory Reform

H.R. 9 (Title III): Requires that federal agencies conduct risk assessment and cost-benefit analyses for all rules and regulatory programs that cost the public and private sectors $25 million or more annually and further requires that they subject those analyses to peer review panels which would include public/industry sector representation. H.R. 9 would make all new regulatory requirements subject to judicial review, including risk assessment, cost-benefit analysis and regulatory impact assessment requirements.

S. 291: Introduced by Senator William Roth Jr. (R-Del.), S. 291 applies to a rule or a "group of closely related rules" that would cost $100 million or more annually in direct or indirect expenditures, or having a significant economic impact. Also, numerous federal agencies would have to submit annually to Congress recommendations for amending, repealing, or enacting laws to eliminate or enhance mandates related to the environment, human health and safety.

S. 343: "The Comprehensive Regulatory Reform Act", introduced by Bob Dole (R-Kan.), would give Congress 45 days to review final rules and veto them if they were found to be overly "burdensome." It would require a cost benefit analyses for major rules -- defined as having a $50 million impact. The most controversial element of S. 343 is the allowance to conduct a cost-benefits analysis for existing regulations.

*****AS WE GO TO PRESS, the Regulatory Transition Act H.R. 450, sponsored by Representatives Tom Delay (R-Texas) and David McIntosh (R-Ind.) is going to the House floor. It would impose a moratorium on federal regulations retroactive to November 20, 1994 and extending to December 31, 1995, or until federal agencies conduct cost-benefit analyses, risk assessments and private property impact assessments when formulating new rules.

REACTION to the private property and regulatory impact bills from fishing and environmental groups has been negative. Regarding H.R. 9, Trout Unlimited has stated:

Regulatory Impact Analysis and Risk Assessment: This provision would heap layers of new requirements for new regulations and litigation opportunities upon federal agency decision makers.... Disturbingly, the new analysis requirements would ignore the costs of not regulating. In other words, the cost of failing to take action to protect a trout or salmon resource, and its associated economic benefits, could not be included in the cost estimation. Calculating the risk to aquatic systems, fish, and the economic benefits they provide, is very difficult. Conversely, costs incurred by business for abiding by regulations are more easily quantifiable. In sum the bill will always skew the equation against natural resource protection and thereby, against fish and fishing.

Private Property Rights: This provision would radically recast current law regarding the "takings" of private property by giving any landowner the right to government compensation for any reduction in property value in excess of 10 percent caused by federal government regulation. This provision would single handedly kill the Clean Water Act, which has been largely responsible for the most gains in water quality we have achieved since 1972. Further, this provision would severely damage other key laws, including the Endangered Species Act and the Surface Mining Control and Reclamation Act.

According to the Natural Resources Defense Council, in their recently released "Breach of Faith -- How the Contract’s Fine Print Undermines America’s Environmental Success":

Under Title IX of H.R. 9, a landowner required to clean up a [Superfund] waste site could recover compensation from the federal government for costs of the clean-up, even if the company itself was responsible for the unsafe dumping which caused the problem.

H.R. 9 [Title III] seeks to redefine the science of risk assessment by radically changing what is considered the "best" estimate of risk. For example, the ‘average’ person eats local fish only occasionally, while some recreational fishers may eat five times more [fish] than the average person. When setting contamination limits for fish eating, under H.R. 9, the "best estimate" would exclude the significantly higher exposure of the fisher, which misleadingly underestimates the risks.

WHAT YOU CAN DO: Fisheries resources and the fishing industry will always depend on the clean water, streams and rivers protected by buffer strips, and plentiful wetlands. All legislators, regardless of party, need to be constantly reminded that environmental protection equates to jobs for fishermen and associated industries.

Write to your Congressperson: U.S. House of Representatives, Washington, D.C. 20515; and U.S. Senate, Washington, D.C. 20510.

For Further Information Contact: Steve Moyer, Trout Unlimited, 1500 Wilson Blvd., Arlington, VA 22209, ph: (703) 522-0200; Natural Resources Defense Council at (202) 783-7800.


The process to reauthorize the Magnuson Fishery Management and Conservation Act began as H.R. 39 (introduced by Representative Don Young {R-Alaska}), and S. 39 (introduced by Senators Frank Murkowski {R-Alaska}, Ted Stevens {R-Alaska} and John Kerry ({D-Mass.}) were introduced. Both fishing and environmental groups have called for stronger habitat language in the Act, citing the importance of habitat protection to the health of the fishing industry.

Habitat provisions in the reauthorization of the Magnuson Act are centered around the contents of Fishery Management Plans, and the role that Regional Fishery Management Councils (Councils) play in activities that affect essential fish habitat. Below are brief synopses for habitat language in both bills:

H.R. 39: The Fishery Management Councils must notify the Secretary of Commerce (SOC) if any state or federal action impacts essential fish habitat. Federal agencies must respond within 15 days after receiving a comment or recommendation from a Council regarding the effects of an activity on essential fishery habitat. Fishery Management Plans (FMPs) must include a description of essential habitat and measures necessary to minimize adverse impacts of fishing on habitat. SOC shall identify the essential fishery habitat and shall comment on and make recommendations on any federal action which may impact essential habitat.

S. 39: FMPs must summarize habitat information and identify federal actions necessary to protect habitat. SOC shall identify essential fish habitat and must comment on federal actions which impact essential habitat.

Now What: Senate hearings on the reauthorization have been tentatively scheduled for March. The House resources subcommittee on fisheries, wildlife and oceans held a hearing on February 23.



On January 25, 1995 the National Marine Fisheries Service released the draft Biological Opinion (Bi-Op) on the "Reinitiation of Consultation on 1994-1998 Operation of the Federal Columbia River Power System and Juvenile Transportation Program in 1994-1998." The draft Bi-Op was prepared in accordance with Section 7 of the Endangered Species Act. For highlights of the Bi-Op in comparison to the Northwest Power Planning Council’s Fish and Wildlife Program, SEE PAGE 5. (Also see Habitat Hotline #16.)

Environmental, fisheries, and tribal interests have criticized the Bi-Op for not doing enough to save endangered Snake River sockeye and chinook. There is particular concern about the Bi-Op disregarding the use of reservoir drawdown. The majority of state, federal and tribal fish biologists believe that drawdowns -- to speed juvenile salmon through the system and reduce mortality -- are crucial to the recovery of endangered Idaho salmon. However, the Bi-Op only calls for a drawdown study. Opposing the Bi-Op for different reasons are industries (e.g., aluminum) that depend on the hydrosystem’s cheap power. They are on record saying the plan would cripple the region economically. Below are some reactions to the Bi-Op:

Tim Stearns, Coordinator for the Save Our Wild Salmon Coalition: "...federal decision-makers in the Clinton Administration have put forward a plan that promises nothing more than political gridlock, endless study, and wild salmon extinctions!"

William Stelle, Director of NMFS’ Northwest Regional Office: "The opinion is a biologically sound and financially affordable blueprint for restoring the health of the Columbia and Snake basin. These actions will not only recover species listed as endangered but will also help restore dozens of salmon stocks that are at historically low levels."

Donald Sampson, Chairman of the Board of Trustees of the Umatilla Indian Tribe, says that the Bi-Op is "too heavily geared toward the status quo." and "far weaker than a separate salmon recovery plan proposed by the Northwest Power Planning Council."

Senator Slade Gorton (R-Wash.): "The impacts on communities, river users, farmers, mills, rate payers and jobs will be extreme, but under the current law that’s not a consideration in setting a course of action."

Ted Strong, Executive Director of the Columbia River Inter-Tribal Fish Commission: "The Biological Opinion is a difficult proposition to live with, and sure thing for salmon to die with."

Ed Chaney, Northwest Resource Information Center: "...the economic cost of NMFS’ flow augmentation/barging approach - which will not recover the salmon - is greater than the economic cost of modifying the dams- which will recover the salmon."

Bob Eaton, Executive Director, Salmon For All: "The proposed Bi-Op looks as if the lower Columbia River economies will continue to bear the economic brunt for yet another non-recovery plan."

NOW WHAT: On March 1, NMFS is supposed to submit the Bi-Op for review by Judge Malcolm Marsh who, in March of 1994, ruled that the NMFS and other federal agencies were not operating the Federal Columbia Power System to protect "species from jeopardy." His decision is expected sometime in late March or early April. The draft Recovery Plan for Snake River Salmon Stocks, which will include long-term hydrosystem operation recommendations, is now due out March 10.

**** AS WE GO TO PRESS, changes to the draft Bi-Op are possible. However, the significance of the changes are unknown.

For Further Information: Save Our Wild Salmon at (206) 622-2904; Northwest Power Planning Council at (503) 222-5161.



The Idaho Department of Lands is attempting to revise their Forest Practices Act rules for state and private lands.

Some highlights of the proposed changes:

Stream Protection

Increase minimum Class II (headwater streams) Stream Protection Zone width to 30 feet.

Provide for large organic debris and shade along Class II streams by requiring that a minimum of 140 trees in the 0"-7.9" tree diameter class be left per 1000 feet of stream. [Current regulations do not require "leave trees" on Class II streams.]

Outstanding Resource Waters (ORW)

Establishes a mechanism to develop specific Best Management Practices (BMPs). The purpose of this rule is to provide for the administration and development of ORW site BMPs and assure achievement of water quality objectives for ORW in accordance with the antidegradation policy.

Provides for regulatory/administrative consistency with stream segment of concern program. (Provide for the development of site-specific BMPs that assure achievement of water quality objectives in stream segments of concern in accordance with the antidegradation policy. Site specific BMPs shall meet or exceed minimum Forest Practice Act Standards.)

There has been opposition to the proposed regulations by small timber owners. They are citing the (now familiar) complaint of
private property rights "takings" in their comments opposing the rules. Apparently, larger industrial timber owners are not fighting the proposed regulations. On the other side of the aisle, environmental and fishing groups contend that the rules need to be strengthened. According to Mark Solomon, Vice President of the Idaho Conservation League:

We believe that the rules do not go far enough. The proposed increase in the Class II Stream Protection Zone to 30 feet must be increased to 50 feet and measured horizontally, and not by slope distance. Also, we want the proposed leave tree definition along Class II streams of 140 trees in the 0" - 7.9" size class (per 1000 feet of stream) changed so that seedlings cannot count toward the leave tree requirement. The intent of the proposed rule of increased input of large organic debris and increased shade in Class II streams will not occur as it is currently written.

The Land Board is expected to make a final decision by May 1995.

WHAT YOU CAN DO: Fishing interests are encouraged to voice their opinion on these rules. The proposed protection measures on Class II streams are needed. Proper watershed management must include protection measures for smaller (first and second order) streams. These smaller streams provide water, nutrients, wood, and other vegetative material for larger fish bearing streams.

For a copy of the proposal, contact the Idaho Department of Lands at (208) 769-1525. Comments should be submitted to:

Bill Love-Chief, Bureau of Forestry Assistance
Idaho Department of Lands
701 River Ave., P.O. Box 670
Coeur d’ Alene, ID 83816

***** COMMENTS DUE BY MARCH 10 *****

For Further Information Contact: Idaho Department of Lands at (208) 769-1525; Idaho Conservation League at (208) 345-6933.



Under both the Bush and Clinton administrations, the possibility of separate and less strict wetlands regulations for Alaska were raised (see Habitat Hotline #’s 4, 10 and 15). The State of Alaska, as well as the oil and gas, mining, housing, and timber industries have supported less restrictive wetlands rules. Their assertion is that there are limited alternatives available for upland development projects in Alaska given the high percentage of wetlands, large expanses of permafrost, mountainous terrain, glaciers and lakes, and difficulties in restoration or creation of wetlands for mitigation purposes.

In May, 1994 the proposed Alaska exemption, which would have allowed the state to develop up to one percent of their wetlands, was officially withdrawn by the Clinton Administration. The Clinton Administration concluded that the Alaska Section 404 program was already sufficiently flexible to accommodate Alaska's unique circumstances.

In the 104th Congress, Senator Ted Steven’s (R-Alaska), and Frank Murkowski (R-Alaska), have introduced the "Alaska Wetlands Credit Procedures Act of 1994" (S.49), which will once again open the debate on the fate of some of Alaska’s 175 million acres of wetlands.

This bill would permit filling in of wetlands without the normal sequencing steps and compensatory mitigation required under the Clean Water Act’s wetland (Section 404) program. This bill would also provide exemptions from permitting requirements for a number of development activities, including certain logging operations, some airport expansions, and the construction of treatment impoundments for mining operations.

According to Senator Stevens:

When the goal of ‘no net loss’ was embraced by the Environmental Protection Agency and the Corps of Engineers, it imprisoned Alaska. The changes in the wetlands program designed to address the Lower 48’s wetlands loss problem were imposed on our state, which contains the most wetland, but doesn’t have the loss problem.

According to Frank Murkowski (R-Alaska), Chairman of the Senate Energy and Natural Resources Committee:

Alaska already has protected some 60 million acres of wetlands. We will never, never become another New Jersey. All we are trying to do is make it easier for states that have protected their wetlands to get general permits to allow some development.

However, environmental groups have questioned the Alaska wetlands exception legislation. According to Tony Turrini of the National Wildlife Federation:

Alaska’s Section 404 program is already fair, flexible, and adequately accommodates the reasonable concerns of development interests. The fact of the matter is that: 1) Alaska has a permit denial rate of only 2.4 percent, less than half that of the rest of the nation; 2) Alaska has over sixty general permits, far more than any other state; and 3) compensatory mitigation is required in less than one percent of the cases in Alaska, compared to thirty-five percent in the rest of the nation.

Instead of seeking to strengthen the environmental laws which have maintained Alaska’s uniqueness, the bill caters to the short-term financial interests of special constituencies. Instead of learning from the mistakes of the lower 48 states--where we have lost more than fifty percent of our wetlands base--S. 49 promises to repeat those mistakes....



In the January issue (#16) of the Habitat Hotline, we reported on a proposed artificial reef project off the coast of Southern California. The proposal is to turn four offshore oil rigs (named the "4-H" rigs), scheduled for land based disposal, into artificial reefs. Sportfishing groups are advocating the rigs to reefs concept. The California Department of Fish and Game (CDF&G) has also expressed an interest in the project.

In response to that article, we were contacted by Tony West of the California Gillnetters Association. According to West, not enough was said in the article about opposition to the reef project by commercial fishing industry groups. In a July 18, 1994 letter to the California Department of Fish and Game (CDF&G), Mr. West brought up the following points about the rigs-to-reefs project:

We are extremely alarmed at the concept of sinking old abandoned oil offshore drilling platforms!

This is not in the spirit of how these leases were originally granted by both M.M.S. [Minerals Management Service] and the Coastal Commission. A lot of effort on the part of fishermen and oil companies went into these agreements. The fishermen insisted that there be no "fouling" of the grounds with discarded debris from the drilling operation, and that when they were finished with the site, the oil company would remove the platform completely, thereby allowing the fishermen access to the area once again. The new [rigs-to-reefs] idea is a complete violation of these agreements.

And in a July 12 letter to the CDF&G, Mike McCorkle, President of the Southern California Trawlers Association wrote:

At this time we would like to restate our strenuous objection to any plan for the so-called "4-H" rigs, other than that which is required by existing oil company permits--to completely remove the rigs and leave the sea bottom in a natural, clean state.

Furthermore, any partial removal will cost us fishing area far greater than the footprint of the artificial reef, creating problems for trawlers, trappers and trollers who risk snagging their gear on subsurface obstructions. In fact, we have been anxiously awaiting the removal of these rigs, so we can regain some of our historic fishing grounds.

The question of liability looms large in this matter. For example, who will pay for damage or loss of commercial fishing gear due to artificial-reef obstructions?

In the latest development: It appears that the proposed "4-H" rigs to reef project has been shelved. In a recent meeting, both the California Department of Fish and Game and Chevron decided not to pursue the rigs-to-reefs option because it proved infeasible for several reasons. According to Don Schultze of CDF&G, "the timing for this project was bad in that Chevron has already spent lots of time planning for total removal. Additionally, the money just wasn’t there to get the job done." However, Schultze went on to say that the rigs-to-reefs idea is not dead by any means. Also, CDF&G will be looking at "future possibilities" and setting up some guidelines and goals for future reef projects "that everybody can live with." Regarding the liability question, Schultze thinks that it can be addressed and it is not a "major problem."

For Further Information: Don Schultze of California Department of Fish and Game at (916) 653-3142; Dan Frumkes, United Anglers of Southern California at (310) 456-2518; Tony West, California Gillnetters Association at (310) 832-8143.


The U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service, Hoopa Valley Tribe and Trinity County recently released a Scoping Report of the "Mainstem Trinity River Fishery Restoration Environmental Impact Statement/Environmental Report (EIS/EIR)." The EIS/EIR will assist the Secretary of the Interior in making a decision concerning permanent instream flow requirements and mainstream fishery restoration efforts.

The Trinity River Restoration Program was established in 1984 by an Act of Congress with the objective of restoring salmon and steelhead populations. While there is widespread endorsement for bountiful salmon and steelhead runs, there has been disagreement over how to best accomplish fish restoration. (See Habitat Hotline #’s 11& 15.)

The all-important reauthorization of the Trinity River Restoration Act is scheduled for 1995. "Reauthorization of the act, and the federal funding that comes with it, will be imperative to restoring the Trinity, says Byron Leydecker of the Friends of the Trinity River. "We hope to see a reauthorization bill that everyone can support soon introduced before program funding runs out September 30, 1995."

What You Can Do: Additional public meetings will be held in April 1995. To get a copy of the Scoping Report, and for information on meeting locations, contact:

Ms. Sharon Gross
U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service
Sacramento Field Office
2800 Cottage Way, Room E-1803
Sacramento, CA 95825-1846
ph: (916) 979-2710

For Further Information Contact: Sharon Gross, USFWS at (916) 979-2710; Mike Orcutt. Hoopa Valley Tribe at (916) 625-4267; Byron Leydecker, Friends of the Trinity River at (415) 389-1300.


The Humboldt Chapter of the American Fisheries Society will host a public Colloquium on Thursday, March 9th, in Weaverville, California to review efforts to restore fishery habitat in the mainstream of the Trinity River. This Colloquium will specifically evaluate the efforts to restore fish habitat that are currently proposed under the Trinity River Restoration Program.

The Colloquium will contribute directly to the Environmental Impact Statement/Environmental Impact Report currently being prepared for the proposed restoration of the mainstream. Staff and consultants to the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service will make presentations before a panel of individuals with expertise as fish biologists or as stream hydrologists/geomorphologists.

For Further Information: Dr. Richard Ridenhour, 2736 Sunny Grove Ave., McKinleyville, CA 95521, ph: (707) 839-3300.



On October 28, the Oregon Water Resources Commission adopted an order providing the Grants Pass Irrigation District with an extension of its water use permit and approving its conservation and fish passage plans. Under these plans, the district will be required to improve its water use efficiency by installing pumping plants and removing Savage Rapids Dam. According to the Bureau of Reclamation (Reclamation), dam removal would result in an estimated 26,700 additional spawning salmon and steelhead, eventually increasing annual harvest potential by 87,900 fish.

On December 15, 1994, Reclamation released a draft "Planning Report/Draft Environmental Statement of the Fish Passage Improvement--Savage Rapids Dam" (DES). The draft DES examines three alternatives: 1) dam removal/pumping alternative; 2) keeping the dam and putting in state-of-the-art fish ladders and screens; and 3) no action. The preferred alternative is removing the dam and replacing it with pumps.

According to the group WaterWatch, the dam removal/pumping alternative should be supported as the preferred alternative because it has the following advantages over keeping the dam and putting in state-of-the-art ladders and screens:

WHAT YOU CAN DO: Written comments on the "Planning Report/Draft Environmental Statement of the Fish Passage Improvement--Savage Rapids Dam" should be sent to: Robert J. Hamilton, Bureau of Reclamation, 1150 North Curtis Road, Boise, Idaho 83706-1234.


Copies of the written comments supporting the preferred alternative and letters requesting support for funding of the dam removal/pumping alternative should also be sent to: Senator Mark Hatfield, SH-711, Hart Senate Office Building, Washington, DC 20510; Senator Bob Packwood, 259 Russell Senate Building, Washington, DC 20510; Representative Peter DeFazio, 2134 Rayburn Office Building, Washington, DC 20510; Representative Wes Cooley, 1609 Longworth Building, Washington DC 20515; and Governor John Kitzhaber, 254 State Capitol, Salem, OR 97310.

For Further Information: For a copy of the Savage Rapid’s Planning Report/Draft Environmental Statement call Robert Hamilton of the Bureau of Reclamation at (208) 378-5087; WaterWatch (503) 295-4039.



A report on sewage treatment in the Puget Sound, Strait of Juan de Fuca and Georgia Straits transboundary region was recently released by the joint project of People for Puget Sound and the Save Georgia Strait Alliance. This report assessed the status of sewage treatment and discharge in the Sound and Straits region, discusses the environmental impacts of sewage, and makes recommendations for improving sewage treatment in the region. Below are some of report’s findings:

Conventional Pollutants [Treatment Facilities]: The majority of British Columbia facilities use secondary treatment. However, the largest city in the province, Vancouver, uses only primary treatment, as do a few smaller communities. The city of Victoria does not even use primary treatment; instead, it discharges raw sewage directly into the Strait of Juan de Fuca. Virtually all Washington facilities use secondary treatment, although two of the sanitary sewage treatment facilities operated by Metro (a public utility serving the Seattle metropolitan area) are still in the process of upgrading from primary treatment or rerouting effluent to secondary treatment plants.

Toxics: Toxic contaminants in the sewage are inadequately controlled throughout the region, with many permits lacking specific toxic limits and adequate testing requirements. Industrial pretreatment programs, which could help control toxics by keeping them out of the sewage system, are fewer and less effective than they should be.

Enforcement: The Washington and British Columbia governments have been neither consistent nor vigorous in enforcing their laws governing sewage treatment plants. As a result, operators of sewage treatment plants have little incentive to comply with legal requirements.

Chlorine: Once chlorine has been added, sewage effluent can be environmentally damaging because even small concentrations of chlorine can be toxic to aquatic life. Although dechlorination of sewage effluent can reduce the lethal effects of chlorine, chlorinated compounds which can form during dechlorination are harmful to aquatic life. In British Columbia, dechlorination is generally used where chlorination is used. Chlorination is common in Washington, but dechlorination is rare, and alternatives to chlorine disinfection are not being widely investigated.

Combined Sewer Overflows: Combined sewer overflows (CSOs) occur when heavy rains cause combined sanitary and storm sewers to overflow. During a CSO event, completely untreated sewage is discharged directly into the water. This problem is especially serious in Vancouver, B.C., and in some older Washington cities. Although efforts have been made to address CSOs, progress has been slow.

Funding and Capacity: Adequate funding for sewage treatment improvements is a problem throughout the region.

For a copy of the report contact: People for Puget Sound, (206) 382-7007; Save Georgia Strait Alliance at (604) 753-3459.



In a partial victory for fishermen, Native Americans and conservationists, on Jan. 23, 1995, British Columbia Premier Mike Harcourt announced suspension of the Kemano Completion Project in the Nechako River (Fraser River drainage) due to concerns that it would threaten salmon populations (See Habitat Hotline # 15). Fish biologists have called Kemano 2 the "habitat issue of the century." A large grass roots campaign led by tribal, fisheries, and environmental groups in both Canada and the United States has fought the project.

The proposed Kemano 2 hydroelectric project would have diverted over 80 percent of the Nechako’s water to a different watershed and threatened over 20% of the salmon production of the Fraser system. Potential losses to commercial salmon fisheries were estimated to range from $30 to $100 million dollars per year.

However, apparently the fight over Kemano is not over. Groups opposing the project want the 1987 agreement, which gave Alcan the right to divert 88 percent of the Nechako River, rescinded. According to the Cheslatta Carrier Nation, a leading opponent to Kemano:

While some people have broken open champagne to celebrate the scrapping of Kemano 2 by Premier Mike Harcourt, the Nechako River is still reeling from the effects of Kemano 2, let alone the effects of Kemano 1. The Nechako’s future remains in doubt. Its future depends on actions yet to be taken by B.C., Canada and Alcan [an aluminum producer, and chief project proponent].

If the Harcourt announcement is to be meaningful, then Fisheries Minister Brian Tobin will have to tear up the 1987 Kemano Settlement Agreement. And B.C. and Canada will have to pass legislation to ensure Alcan is rolled back to Kemano 1 flows. And Alcan has to agree not to challenge the legislation. So, there’s quite a few more bridges to be crossed before we can be sure the Nechako is actually saved.

For Further Information Contact: John Hummel or Dana Wagg of the Cheslatta Carrier Nation at (604) 694-3334; David Lane or Mae Burrows of the United Fishermen and Allied Workers Union at (604) 255-8819.


EPA has compiled lists of environmental organizations found in various watersheds across the Pacific Northwest. Each list includes the addresses, contact, membership, profile, activities, revenue sources, publications, and other relevant information concerning each environmental group in the watershed. Watersheds where environmental organizations are identified include: Nooksack, Upper Snake, Lower Snake, Mid-Snake, Chehalis, Grande Ronde, Coeur d’Alene, Clark Fork-Pend Oreille, Lower Boise, Spokane, and Lake Roosevelt.

EPA is currently working on developing lists for the Snohomish, Stillaguamish, Green River, Cascade, Henry’s Lake, and Willapa watersheds. A copy of each of these lists are available at EPA’s Public Information Center (1-800-424-4-EPA). The Region 10 library call number assigned to this document is EPA 1190. The "Environmental Group Inventory" has been cataloged on the EPA National Online Catalog (OLS), with the OLS keyword search for any of the watershed names.


Comparison of National Marine Fisheries Service 1995 Draft Biological Opinion to the 1994 Amendments of the Northwest Power Planning Council


Key Points

Snake River Operations

Columbia River Operations

NMFS calls for higher volumes in spring and summer than does the Council. Greater reliance on drafting the Hungry Horse, Libby, Albeni Falls and Grand Coulee storage reservoirs.




Surface Collectors

Source: Northwest Power Planning Council (February 1995)