Salmon work group plans to come up with policy changes to address salmon recovery in Idaho

Posted at 2:53 PM, Apr 29, 2020
and last updated 2020-04-30 12:12:22-04

BOISE, Idaho — Governor Little's salmon workgroup met virtually this week to move forward in their next phase of coming up with ideas to help the salmon recover in Idaho.

For months different stakeholders have listened to experts and learned about the different aspects that affect the salmon and steelhead returns to spawn in Idaho.

During that period, the salmon workgroup identified habitat, harvests, hatcheries, hydro-power and water in a broad base as the identifying factors that need to be looked at.

"It will be interesting to see a table like this where people wrote down items that they thought would get us from where we are today to a happy Governor and recovered salmon and steelhead," said
Richard Scully an Idaho sportsman.

At this meeting, the group facilitator Katherine Himes from the University of Idaho showed the group what specific areas the group has the highest agreed upon consensus.

Those included making the Snake River safer for salmon migration by decreasing powerhouse encounters, creating incentives for landowners for conservation purposes, coming up with a plan for downriver harvesting and coordinating with agencies who build infrastructure like bridges and culverts to protect the fish.

The group also agreed that it's essential to improve fish hatcheries and secure water sources, with their primary example being Dworshak National Fish Hatchery in central Idaho.

Breaching the four dams on the lower Snake River ranked near the bottom in actions the workgroup agreed on, however, the group hasn't ruled anything out.

The next step will be dividing into smaller groups to work together and put together actual proposals for the group to look they propose their plans to Governor Little.

"See what people are thinking, connect it to funding, to the social and human aspects," said Katherine Himes. "Then, you come back in May and share it with the full workgroup."

The next meeting will be on May 27, for more information on the salmon workgroup click here.