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Tuesday, June 18, 2019  Spokane, Washington  Est. May 19, 1883
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Judge: More water must be released from Columbia, Snake dams

This Oct. 19, 2016, photo shows the Lower Granite Dam on the Snake River in Washington state. A short-term agreement over fish passage operations at Snake and Columbia river dams could help researchers determine whether spilling more water there can significantly boost survival of juvenile salmon and steelhead and ultimately lead to more fish returning to Idaho, Oregon and Washington. (Jesse Tinsley / The Spokesman-Review)
This Oct. 19, 2016, photo shows the Lower Granite Dam on the Snake River in Washington state. A short-term agreement over fish passage operations at Snake and Columbia river dams could help researchers determine whether spilling more water there can significantly boost survival of juvenile salmon and steelhead and ultimately lead to more fish returning to Idaho, Oregon and Washington. (Jesse Tinsley / The Spokesman-Review)
Associated Press

PORTLAND – A federal judge in Oregon says that beginning next year, the government must spill more water from dams on the lower Columbia and Snake rivers to improve the chances that protected salmon will survive.

U.S. District Judge Michael Simon said in a ruling Monday that the salmon continue to be imperiled and that the Army Corps of Engineers must spill more water for the fish at eight dams. However, he declined to require the corps to do so immediately, as conservationists requested.

Instead, he told the government to spend the next year studying how best to release the right amount of water without created strong eddies or other conditions that could wind up endangering the fish further.

Conservationists say the extra water will help young salmon migrate out to sea.

Simon is the same judge who last year urged the government to consider breaching the four dams on the Lower Snake River.

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