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Columbia restoration off to good start

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High Five
Monday, May 09, 2011

Restoration work on the Columbia River is showing good early numbers for threatened fish habitats, but it could take a long time to see any real results.

On March 15, the first check, biologists counted 20 juvenile salmon. On April 29, the count totaled 723, mostly chinook and chum.

That's the kind of success story operators of the Columbia basin's federal hydropower dams need a whole lot more of. Their 10-year dam operations plan, under the skeptical eye of U.S. District Judge James A. Redden, banks heavily on habitat improvements to bolster seven threatened runs of wild salmon and steelhead that begin life above Bonneville Dam.

It's likely the biggest restoration effort in the nation, from the Columbia's mouth to tributaries deep into eastern Oregon, Idaho and Washington. If it works, it could help lift the fish off the endangered species list, dim the spotlight on dams and reduce demands for Snake River dam removal.

Read more at OregonLive.com.

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