After making headway in recovery efforts over the last few years, Salmon have dramatically lost ground this year as runs plummeted. The federal policy in recent years has done everything to avoid helping the recovery effort. The National Oceanic and Atmospheric Fisheries Service, in charge of bringing 26 species of salmon and steelhead back from the brink of extinction in the Northwest cut back critical habitat designations for the embattled fish by 80 percent. A lawsuit by the National Association of Homebuilders alleging that the agency failed to consider economic effects of homebuilding (nothing mentioned of economic effects of tourism and returning the fish industry to historic levels) effectively stopped one of the last hopes for the fish.
The redesignation cuts the number of critical fish habitat river miles in Washington, Oregon and Idaho from 121,000 to 23,500.
The agency justified it's new plan saying direct comparisons to the old designation are not valid, because they included many reaches of rivers that are not occupied by salmon. Hmmm, wonder what happened? Maybe fish don't exist on those rivers anymore because of dams, erosion and homes being built?