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Spokane, Washington  Est. May 19, 1883
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Sockeye reach Stanley Basin

The first two sockeye salmon of the season completed the marathon journey from the Pacific Ocean, up the Columbia and Snake rivers to Little Redfish Lake in Idaho’s Stanley Basin on July 23. More to come. The journey covers than 900 miles and 6,500 vertical feet to the high mountain valley where they were born.

NOAA granted another month for salmon plan

PORTLAND — A federal judge Monday gave the Obama administration another month before saying where it stands on the Bush administration’s strategy for balancing endangered salmon against federal hydroelectric power production in the Columbia Basin.

Plan calls for review of dams

U.S. Rep. Jim McDermott has called for a scientific analysis of the federal government’s Northwest salmon recovery effort, saying that most wild stocks remain at dangerously low levels despite the $8 billion spent on their recovery. In his proposed “Salmon Solutions and Planning Act,” McDermott would also give the Army Corps of Engineers the authority to breach the four Lower Snake River dams.

Hydropower conference set for Spokane next week

About 1,500 employees of the hydropower industry will gather in Spokane next week for a conference discussing new technology and the impact of climate change on dams. The Waterpower XVI conference is hosted by PennWell Corp., an Oklahoma firm that publishes “Hydro Review” and other industry magazines and newsletters. The conference takes place Monday through Thursday at the Spokane Convention Center.

The decade of river revivals

AUGUSTA, Maine — A backhoe took a bite out of the Edwards Dam 10 years ago, releasing the waters of the Kennebec River that had been held back for more than a century and a half. At a recent anniversary ceremony, conservationists and sporting enthusiasts hailed the July 1, 1999, removal of the longtime landmark as a major step toward returning one of Maine’s largest rivers to its natural state and restoring fisheries.

Power play: Avista dams relicensed

Five hydropower dams on the Spokane River are entering a new era. Avista Corp. received a new federal license for the dams Thursday that spells out how they will operate over the next 50 years. “It’s a new chapter for the Spokane River,” said Rachael Paschal Osborn, the Sierra Club’s river project coordinator. Recreation, water quality and fisheries are addressed in the license. The Sierra Club was among 200 groups that took part in the five-year relicensing process. The strong public participation didn’t surprise Speed Fitzhugh, Avista’s license manager. “The Spokane River is such a key feature in this area,” he said. “It runs right through the heart of the city.” Q. Which dams are covered by the agreement?

Feds fact-finding on dams and salmon

GRANTS PASS, Ore. – Two top members of President Barack Obama’s environmental team are in the Northwest this week, listening but pointedly not speaking about the tense conflict between salmon and hydroelectric dams in the Columbia Basin. National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration chief Jane Lubchenco and White House Council on Environmental Quality chairwoman Nancy Sutley attended closed-door sessions in Portland on Tuesday with scientists, government officials and Indian tribes, and were scheduled today to tour one of the lower Snake River dams in Eastern Washington that conservationists and some Indian tribes want removed to restore endangered salmon.

River treaty changes floated

The buzz of an electric alarm clock, the sweet heat of the shower, steam rising from a coffee mug. All over the Northwest, people start their day with energy from Columbia River dams.

Salmon run project begins

PORT ANGELES, Wash. – Scientists know what two dams did nearly a century ago to the Elwha River’s legendary salmon runs. Now they get a historic chance to find out what they still don’t know: Given a dam-free path, will a river ecosystem agree to march backward in time?

Former Oregon governor on list for Interior job

Former Oregon Gov. John Kitzhaber spoke out in favor of removing the four Lower Snake River Dams to restore Northwest salmon runs. Now the former emergency room doctor – a veteran of resource battles in his home state – is a candidate to lead the U.S. Department of Interior. Kitzhaber is on a short list for Interior secretary in the Obama administration. Three fellow Westerners’ names also appear on the list: U.S. Rep. Jay Inslee, D-Wash.; U.S. Rep. Mike Thompson, D-Calif.; and U.S. Rep. Raul Grijalva, D-Arizona.

Hatchery program replenishing stocks

A feast of grilled salmon is an exceptional way to end a day spent kayaking on the Spokane River. For the Spokane Tribe of Indians, it’s also a link to history. As my group of paddlers pulled into Blue Creek on the Spokane Indian Reservation late Sunday afternoon, Bill Matt Sr. met us with a trailer pulling a portable barbecue. An hour later, we sat down to dinner.

Avista’s river-use conditions challenged

Avista Corp. should do more to protect the Spokane River in return for harnessing its water for hydropower generation, two environmental groups say. The Sierra Club and the Center for Environmental Law and Policy filed an appeal Tuesday with Washington's Pollution Control Hearings Board, saying the state was too lax in issuing conditions for operation of four Avista dams on the Washington side of the 111-mile river.