A team of scientists originally charged with writing a Snake River salmon-recovery plan has raised serious doubts about the federal government’s proposal for saving the endangered runs.
The team generally agrees with the National Marine Fisheries Service draft recovery plan released in March, but questions key provisions, said Donald Bevan, the team’s chairman.
“Our general support should not be understood to negate the seriousness of some of our differences,” Bevan wrote in a letter dated Tuesday to Will Stelle, the Fisheries Service’s regional director in Seattle.
Bevan panned both spilling water and fish over mainstem Snake and Columbia river dams and proposed reservoir drawdowns. He also called for tougher restrictions on logging and other activities along salmon streams and supported midsummer water releases from Dworshak Reservoir.
The seven-member team included four biologists, two engineers and an economist. It spent nearly two years researching and writing its recommended recovery plan.
The Fisheries Service took the recommendations and drafted its own proposal, which now is under public review and is scheduled to be issued in final form late this year.
Bevan said releasing water from Dworshak Reservoir at the midsummer peak of the recreation season promises the most hope for young fall chinook salmon migrating down the Snake River.