SPEAKERS CONTENTS INSERTS
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HYDROPOWER RIVER MANAGEMENT AND SALMON RECOVERY ISSUES
ON THE COLUMBIA/SNAKE RIVER SYSTEM
COMMITTEE ON RESOURCES
HOUSE OF REPRESENTATIVES
ONE HUNDRED SIXTH CONGRESS
APRIL 27, 2000, PASCO, WASHINGTON
Serial No. 106-94
Printed for the use of the Committee on Resources
Available via the World Wide Web: http://www.access.gpo.gov/congress/house
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Committee address: http://www.resourcescommittee.house.gov
For sale by the Superintendent of Documents, U.S. Government Printing Office
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COMMITTEE ON RESOURCES
DON YOUNG, Alaska, Chairman
W.J. (BILLY) TAUZIN, Louisiana
JAMES V. HANSEN, Utah
JIM SAXTON, New Jersey
ELTON GALLEGLY, California
JOHN J. DUNCAN, Jr., Tennessee
JOEL HEFLEY, Colorado
JOHN T. DOOLITTLE, California
WAYNE T. GILCHREST, Maryland
KEN CALVERT, California
RICHARD W. POMBO, California
BARBARA CUBIN, Wyoming
HELEN CHENOWETH-HAGE, Idaho
GEORGE P. RADANOVICH, California
WALTER B. JONES, Jr., North Carolina
Page 3 PREV PAGE TOP OF DOCWILLIAM M. (MAC) THORNBERRY, Texas
CHRIS CANNON, Utah
KEVIN BRADY, Texas
JOHN PETERSON, Pennsylvania
RICK HILL, Montana
BOB SCHAFFER, Colorado
JIM GIBBONS, Nevada
MARK E. SOUDER, Indiana
GREG WALDEN, Oregon
DON SHERWOOD, Pennsylvania
ROBIN HAYES, North Carolina
MIKE SIMPSON, Idaho
THOMAS G. TANCREDO, Colorado
GEORGE MILLER, California
NICK J. RAHALL, II, West Virginia
EDWARD J. MARKEY, Massachusetts
BRUCE F. VENTO, Minnesota
DALE E. KILDEE, Michigan
ENI F.H. FALEOMAVAEGA, American Samoa
NEIL ABERCROMBIE, Hawaii
SOLOMON P. ORTIZ, Texas
OWEN B. PICKETT, Virginia
FRANK PALLONE, Jr., New Jersey
Page 4 PREV PAGE TOP OF DOCCALVIN M. DOOLEY, California
CARLOS A. ROMERO-BARCELO,
ROBERT A. UNDERWOOD, Guam
PATRICK J. KENNEDY, Rhode Island
ADAM SMITH, Washington
CHRIS JOHN, Louisiana
DONNA MC CHRISTESEN, Virgin Islands
RON KIND, Wisconsin
JAY INSLEE, Washington
GRACE F. NAPOLITANO, California
TOM UDALL, New Mexico
MARK UDALL, Colorado
JOSEPH CROWLEY, New York
RUSH D. HOLT, New Jersey
LLOYD A. JONES, Chief of Staff
ELIZABETH MEGGINSON, Chief Counsel
CHRISTINE KENNEDY, Chief Clerk/Administrator
JOHN LAWRENCE, Democratic Staff Director
C O N T E N T S
Hearing held April 27, 2000
Page 5 PREV PAGE TOP OF DOCStatement of Members:
Chenoweth-Hage, Hon. Helen, a Representative in Congress from the State of Idaho
Prepared statement of
Doolittle, Hon. John T., a Representative in Congress from the State of California, Prepared statement of
Hastings, Hon. Doc, a Representative in Congress from the State of Washington
Prepared statement of
Nethercutt, Hon. George, a Representative in Congress from the State of Washington
Prepared statement of
Simpson, Hon. Michael K., a Representative in Congress from the State of Idaho
Statement of Witnesses:
Anderson, Dr. Jim, Associate Professor, Columbia Basin Research, University of
Washington, Seattle, Washington
Prepared statement of
Bogert, Michael, Counsel to Governor Kempthorne, Boise, Idaho
Prepared Statement of
Hagerty, Dean, Commissioner and President, Public Utility District of Grant County,
Prepared statement of
Ilgenfritz, Ric, Columbia Basin Coordinator, National Marine Fisheries Service, NOAA
Prepared statement of
Johansen, Judith, Administrator, Bonneville Power Authority, Portland, Oregon
Page 6 PREV PAGE TOP OF DOCPrepared statement of
Mantua, Dr. Nathan, Associate Professor of Atmospheric Science, Joint Institute for the
Study of Atmosphere & Oceans, University of Washington, Seattle, Washington
Prepared statement of
Minthorn, Antone, Chairman, Board of Trustees, Confederated Tribes of the Umatilla
Indian Reservation, Portland, Oregon
Prepared statement of
Mogren, Col. Eric, Deputy Commander, Northwestern Division, U.S. Army Corps of
Engineers, Portland, Oregon
Prepared statement of
Morton, Hon. Bob, State Senator, Washington State Senate
Prepared statement of
Roby, Dr. Dan, Assistant Unit Leader, Oregon Fish and Wildlife Cooperative Unit, Oregon
State University, Department of Fisheries and Wildlife, Corvallis, Oregon
Prepared statement of
Skinner, Michael K., Director, Center of Reproductive Biology, Washington State
University, Pullman, Washington
Prepared statement of
Swartz, Don, Science and Policy Advisor, Northwest Sportfishing Industries Association,
HYDROPOWER, RIVER MANAGEMENT, AND SALMON
RECOVERY ISSUES ON THE COLUMBIA/SNAKE RIVER
THURSDAY, APRIL 27, 2000
Page 7 PREV PAGE TOP OF DOCHouse of Representatives,
Committee on Resources,
The Committee met, pursuant to notice, at 10 a.m., in the Theatre,
Columbia Basin College, 2600 N. 20th Avenue, Pasco, Washington, Hon. Helen
CHENOWETH-HAGE. The hearing will come to
order. Can you hear me back there? Is this microphone picking up our voices? It's not. Well,
we'll have to wait.
OK, I guess we're ready. I want to thank all of you for joining us here
today for this Congressional Hearing. Congressman, Don Young, the Chairman of the Resources
Committee, has sent the entire Committee out, absent Don Young, but we are here today and
there is a very, very important issue that we are going to be discussing today.
I do want to thank Congressman Hastings for inviting us into his
District. As we traveled in last night I was just amazed at the beauty and productivity of this area,
and it's quite amazing the development that has occurred here and it's quite beautiful and very,
I also want to thank Congressman George Nethercutt for his joining us
today. This issue is exceedingly important to these two gentlemen and they have been stellar in
their leadership on making sure that we maintain the proper kind of control on our Snake River
and our Columbia River.
I am very, very happy to welcome my colleague from Idaho, Mike
Simpson, who is a member of not only the Resources Committee but also the Water and Power
Page 8 PREV PAGE TOP OF DOCSubcommittee and we join each other in sitting on that Committee. I think we all expected John
Doolittle, who is the Chair of the Water and Power Subcommittee to be here today, but due to a
death in the immediate family Congressman Doolittle is unable to join us today and we certainly
extend to him our condolences and our best wishes to Mr. Doolittle and his family.
[The prepared statement of Mr. Doolittle follows:]
OPENING STATEMENT OF THE HON. HELEN
CHENOWETH-HAGE, A REPRESENTATIVE IN CONGRESS FROM THE STATE OF
CHENOWETH-HAGE. We are here today in the
Tri-City area to hear testimony about an issue that could very well determine the future of this
lush valley and many other such areas up and down the Columbia and Snake Rivers. That issue
is the recovery of the salmon. The agency in charge of this effort, The National Marine Fisheries
Service, is on the verge of issuing a plan that will have major implications for the States of
Washington and Oregon.
Today, we as Congress, are asserting our critical role in this process.
These not decisions that should be made without the awareness and the actions of Congress.
As we approach this issue we must first determine whether the focus is
Page 9 PREV PAGE TOP OF DOCtruly on the salmon or some other agenda. I firmly believe that when the true focus is on the
salmon the battle will be mostly won. The science does exist showing all of the factors
detrimental to the fish, some which are caused by man and some which are nature's fault, and
realistic and efficient solutions to these problems are available if we only choose to use them.
Instead, those who have a different agenda other than saving salmon hijacked these issues.
Rather than hone in on the real problems of salmon decline and real solutions to recovery of that
species, these groups have instead sought to fulfill their own purposes, whether it be returning
the River system to its pre-Columbian condition or thriving on the cash cow of resource and
grant dollars that depend on the problem really never being solved.
Now, make no mistake about it, this is an unrealistic unachievable and
costly goal that is causing economic and ecological confusion, harming not only our economy
and not laws and but the salmon as well.
While billions of dollars have been diverted to endless studies on
highly experimental measures, such as flow augmentation and non-starters, such as dam
breaching doable measures such as predator and harvest controls, innovate fish green devices and
even modification to the dams remains on the shelf gathering dust.
Today, we hope to win back this issue, steer it back on the course that
it belongs; that is, which is to recover the species while at the same time respecting the laws
already in place and the way of life that has made spectacular agricultural valleys such as this one
prosper so well.
We will be hearing from witnesses, both in and outside the Federal
agencies about all of the factors affecting salmon and what can be done in the short term to deal
with these factors. We will be examining the process the agencies are using to determine salmon
Page 10 PREV PAGE TOP OF DOC I would like to make a special note of a witness here today from my
State of Idaho, Michael Bogart, who is representing Governor Kempthorn. Mr. Bogart will be
present perfect example of what is wrong with current salmon policy. Idaho, our State, is being
asked to make tremendous sacrifices at immense financial cost, even though the actual biological
conditions in the State have little to do with the salmon problems.
Farmers well into the upper Snake River valley, hundreds of miles
away from salmon habitat are being asked to give up water that adds virtually no real scientific
value to the recovery effort, and at the same time real problems, such as the taking of an
estimated 600,000 wild salmon smolts by the terns in the Columbia estuaries is being virtually
As long an this imbalance of focus persists we will really never
recover the salmon.
In closing, before I recognize the other members for their statement, I
do want to say that Congress John Doolittle and I have spoken at length by phone. He does have
a statement that will available to all of you. It is an exceptionally good statement and I would
urge you to pick it up and examine it.
[The prepared statement of Mrs. Chenoweth-Hage follows:]
Mrs. CHENOWETH-HAGE. So with that I would like to
recognize Mr. Simpson for an opening statement.
OPENING STATEMENT OF THE HON. MICHAEL K. SIMPSON, A
Page 11 PREV PAGE TOP OF DOCREPRESENTATIVE IN CONGRESS FROM THE STATE OF IDAHO
Mr. SIMPSON. Thank
you, Madame Chairman. I appreciate the opportunity to be here in Washington and to discuss
this issue that is going to be obviously very important to the Pacific Northwest and extremely
important to the State of Idaho and the District which I represent, the southeastern portion of the
State of Idaho.
Some of the most contentious debates we've had while I have served in
the State Legislature in Idaho were over the issue of water and augmenting flows and the
legislature, as most people know in the State of Idaho, has approved over the past several years
additional flow augmentation of 427,000 acre feet, which has an impact on irrigated land in
southeast Idaho. While that ran out last year the legislature again approved an extension of that
for 1 year.
Those impacts that flow augmentation have on southeastern Idaho the
potential of the decisions that are going to be made relative to recovery of salmon and how we go
about that, have an enormous impact in my District on the people of my district as well as the
entire Pacific Northwest.
So I am very pleased to be here today to participate in this hearing and
receive the testimony input from those that are going to be presenting their testimony today on
this critical issue in the Pacific Northwest. Thank you.
CHENOWETH-HAGE. Thank you Mr. Simpson.
OPENING STATEMENT OF THE HON. DOC HASTINGS, A
Page 12 PREV PAGE TOP OF DOCREPRESENTATIVE IN CONGRESS FROM THE STATE OF WASHINGTON
Mr. HASTINGS. Thank
you, Madame Chairwoman. I want to welcome all of you on the panel here to my district and I
thank you for coming. I might add by way of introduction this district you're really into health,
an apple a day keeps the doctor away and we lead the country in apple production, but if you are
in to what I might say junk food and I don't want to say it quite that way.
Mr. SIMPSON. Be
Mr. HASTINGS. Be
careful. We are a major producer of processed potatoes in this district, but if you're into the
higher life we lead the country in production of premium wine grapes, not the country but we
certainly lead the Nation in the quality of wine that's produced in this area. I don't want to let that
If you're really into health food during the season we lead the country
in production of asparagus, and at the final part of the day you want to have a nice cold beer, we
lead the production in the country of hops, which is an integral part of beer, and finally, if you
want to cleanse your palate you use the mint that is grown in this area in Creme d'Mint or
whatever you want.
So welcome to probably the most diverse agricultural area save for the
central valley of California in the county.
So I want to thank you for being here. The reason for this hearing is to
look at really some near-term recovery efforts and explore some of the activities that are going
Page 13 PREV PAGE TOP OF DOCon because the debate is going on and we will hear later on obviously about the dams and maybe
some changes in how we should pursue that.
But I have to tell you that I am very troubled by reports last week that
indicated that the Clinton-Gore Administration intervened with the Corps of Engineers on its
position in the Draft Environmental Impact Statement regarding the four lower Snake River
Instead of recommending additional fish passage improvements, it
appears that the Corps last fall was compelled to issue a draft with no preferred alternative. Now,
the stated reason for this was to allows for a more comprehensive review of the factors in
packing fish in the All-H Paper process that goes forward, and the idea was to allow that to go
forward without prejudice, which certainly sounds to me to be a reasonable expectation.
However, I would point out that within this Administration that line of
thinking apparently did not apply to the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service, which did recommend
dam breaching. Now, the Senate is already investigating this dilemma and I have asked this
Committee, as you know, and the Committee on Transportation to look into it.
But either way, I think that what we have to do is look at all factors,
and I know all the members on this Committee were cosponsors of my Concurrent Resolution 63
that passed this Committee last July to look into all factors rather than just the issue of dam
Why ought we to look beyond dams? Well, the practical fact is that
fish passage improvements and transportation systems frankly have worked. And it seems to me
we ought to focus on different areas. For example, common sense would dictate that if we want
to increase our fish populations you have to look at other areas besides just the dams, and we
Page 14 PREV PAGE TOP OF DOChave to come to grips with the fact that it's not only humanity that eats the fish. There are others
that eat the fish. In fact, in the Corps Draft Environmental Statements they said, and I
quote,''10 to 30 percent of a 20 to 30 percent of all potential smolts that would otherwise be
found below Bonneville dam were consumed by birds.'' Yet Corps of Engineers began to remove
the colony of Caspian Terns that are on Rice Island they were prevented to do so by a
environmental group through a lawsuit.
Let's put this into perspective. The Caspian Terns are protected under
the Migratory Bird Treaty Act, but they are not endangered or threatened. At times when Federal
agencies are telling northwest residents that the Endangered Species Act supersedes State water
rights and perhaps even their constitutional right to private property, shouldn't we at least harass
a few birds to save an endangered species?
That hasn't really been addressed, it seems to me when you look at the
overall scope of what we're all about. I might add, too, that hatcheries have been a vital part in
this whole process. There's been some innovated work that has gone on and I think that ought to
Also, when we look at ocean conditions; I think too often the ocean is
dismissed. I know we're going to have testimony regarding that later on, but it seems to me
whatever decisions we make and not take into the data that we collect on ocean conditions make
it impossible for us to determine what a proper course in the future would be if we don't take that
aspect into consideration.
If the area of habitat is a very critical area, I think that we ought to look
Page 15 PREV PAGE TOP OF DOCat some local success and local efforts that are going on that can, in fact, increase habitat. And I'd
like to cite just a couple of them.
First, here within the Tri-Cities, Helen, when you flew into the
Tri-Cities and, Mike, when you flew in you probably saw those ugly levees that were there that
were left over from the results of the great flood of 1948, but within the 1996 WRDA Act that I
authored was a chance to transfer those lands to the area here, and there are certain local agencies
that are trying to improve the fish habitat utilizing those levees. Hopefully, we can have success
on that, but this is an example of local people getting together to try to come up with solutions.
Second, there are two irrigation districts that right now primarily draw
their water from the lower Yakima River. I have introduced a bill that would allow them to draw
the river, draw the water out of the Columbia River where there is much, much greater flow. This
is agreed upon, I might add, by virtually everybody in involved. It makes common sense, but I
want to emphasize this is a decision that could be made at the local level given the opportunity to
make that decision at the local level.
Finally, there is a proposal from the snake river Irrigators, Snake and
Columbia River Irrigators. Obviously, they have a great deal at stake in this, and they are
suggesting that rather than just flush water down and there is some data that proves that hasn't
had fish runs, we ought to allow that water to go dams and create power and with the excess of
that use it for habitat recovery as one example. That to me seems like a common sense approach
to what we want to do, and these are all near-term solutions to what our problem is.
Page 16 PREV PAGE TOP OF DOC Finally, maybe what we ought to focus on more than anything else is a
solution to the problem that is facing us rather than just trying to deal with the political issue. I
think if you drive the decision back here more to people that are involved we can arrive at a
decision in that regard.
So Madame Chairwoman, I look forward to the testimony that's going
to be given from the people. I think we have a very good assortment of people on the panels and
I look forward to their testimony. Thank you.
[The prepared statement of Mr. Hastings follows:]
Mrs. CHENOWETH-HAGE. Thank you, Mr. Hastings.
Mr. Nethercutt is recognized for 5 minutes.
OPENING STATEMENT OF THE HON. GEORGE NETHERCUTT,
A REPRESENTATIVE IN CONGRESS FROM THE STATE OF WASHINGTON
Thank you, Madame Chairwoman. We are grateful to you and Representative Simpson for
coming into our State and especially to Eastern Washington. Congressman Hastings and I have a
great friendship and great interest with respect to this issue and I'm especially delighted to be in
Page 17 PREV PAGE TOP OF DOCthe 4th Congressional District, which neighbors the far superior 5th Congressional District to the
Salmon restoration and the issue of dam removal is a vital issue to this
region, Congressman Hastings' District and mine, most especially in our State.
I think for so long all of us have sat back and listened to the disputes
over, do we take out the dams or do we keep the dams in, and we need to have that debate most
definitely. But we also need to think carefully about other options that we all have and local
efforts that are being undertaken to improve the salmon habitat and improve the likely recovery
of species that are either threatened or endangered.
I'm glad that this particular hearing will be focused more on that, rather
than the contentious issue of dam removal, an issue that I have spoken out and Congressman
Hastings has spoken out very forcefully on and we are very much opposed to the breaching of the
dams in the lower Snake River and in the river systems in the west.
I am especially delighted that these panels have been convened today
by the Committee. They are excellent panels and I'm especially proud of those witnesses from
my own district; Senator Bob Morton who will testify here in a moment and Dr. Mike Skinner
from Washington State University and Mike Pelissier, who is not here I understand. Also Les
Wiggan, Commissioner of Whitman County is submitting testimony. Skip Meade and others will
submit testimony as well while the record remains open. We are grateful to have that testimony
and that information.
I think it's critically important that we focus, too, on what can be done
Page 18 PREV PAGE TOP OF DOCnow to make improvements in salmon restoration. For members outside our region it's very easy
to make a decision on whether or not to support dam removal without fully understanding the
impacts of that decision and the efforts being done to restore salmon. That's why I think it's so
important that we're looking here today and elsewhere as we go through this debate on the focus
being on what can be done, not only from the perspective of Federal agencies and tribal interests,
but from those people most directly impacted in the local communities.
So I'm hopeful that these discussions and the record that's being
created will add to the positive solution for salmon restoration, and as we also carefully watch
what happens on this dam removal issue, especially by the Federal agencies who have
jurisdiction over it.
There are many folks here today who are working very hard to make a
difference, no matter how large or how small, in helping restore wild salmon runs. In my own
district efforts by the Walla Walla Conservation district to restore habitat at Nine Mile Ranch, is
a great project. I commend it to you. I look at it and see what they've done and why they're doing
it and doing it quietly, but it's for a good purpose of restoring on the ground salmon runs.
Planet CPR is an outfit, a localized effort to protect storm drains from
runoff that could be damaging to salmon. It's a small effort but it's a significant effort and it's part
of this great puzzle that we're trying to put together.
So I think there are effective pieces of this salmon restoration puzzle
that can be looked at and appreciated by local input. Protecting these runs in my judgment must
be based not only on the best available science but we must take into consideration all the
Page 19 PREV PAGE TOP OF DOCimpacts on salmon and the multiple uses of this river system.
We can't destroy river transportation, agricultural and recreational
industries that have been created over the last 40 years as we address the solution to fish
problems. Again, I don't believe dam removal is the silver bullet answer. I won't support any
proposals from the Appropriations Committee standpoint, the Committee on which I serve, that
restores salmon on the backs of our local people, the people here in this region who depend on
this system, the agriculture, natural resources and the small communities and residences of
Eastern Washington and my district in particular.
So we convened a group of activists in the 5th District to talk about
this and look at small steps that we might able to take on a proactive basis, not just be against
dam removal but to look at what we can do locally to try to improve the situation, and that's
going to yield, I think, very, very positive results.
So we are making progress in respect to local input and that must be
considered by the Federal agencies as they struggle with this issue as well. Perhaps the most
environmentally sound solution to this, if you look at the broad environmental solution, is to
keep these dams in place because we have to look at the consequences of removing those dams
on the environment.
The evidence I've seen is that 700,000 trucks transporting our
commodities of wheat from Eastern Washington to market would have to traverse our highway
systems that are inadequate to provide that transportation. What happens with all the smoke and
vehicle emissions that go into the air from 700,000 trucks a year as opposed to the clean
renewable resource that comes from the river barge transportation system?
The loss of our power resources on the dam, although they're relatively
small, they are still critically important. We're facing gas price increases and fossil fuel energy
Page 20 PREV PAGE TOP OF DOCshortages and yet we are thinking or considering getting rid of the most clean and renewable
resource that we have for power generation.
I thank you, Madame Chairwoman, for the opportunity to speak here
and be participant in this hearing and I welcome the testimony.
[The prepared statement of Mr. Nethercutt follows:]
Mrs. CHENOWETH-HAGE. Thank you, Congressman
Nethercutt, and now it's my privilege to be able to introduce our first panel; the Honorable Bob
Morton, State Senator, Washington State Senate, Olympia, Washington; Mrs. Judith Johansen,
Administrator, Bonneville Power Authority, Portland, Oregon and Seattle, Washington; Colonel
Eric Mogren, Deputy Commander, Northwest Division, United States Army Corps of Engineers,
Portland, Oregon; Dr. Nathan Mantua, Associate Professor of Atmospheric Science, Joint
Institute for the Study of Atmosphere and Oceans, University of Washington in Seattle,
Washington; and Dr. Jim Anderson, Associate Professor, Columbia Basin Research, University
of Washington in Seattle, Washington.
Page 21 PREV PAGE TOP OF DOC As customary of this Subcommittee to place all witnesses under the
oath I would like to ask this panel if they would stand and raise their right hand to the square.
Do you promise and affirm under the penalty of perjury that you will
tell the truth, the whole truth and nothing but the truth so help you God?
PANEL. I do.
CHENOWETH-HAGE. Thank you. Senator Morton,
I understand that you have, as part of your testimony, you have brought a film that you would
like to show; is that correct?
Mr. MORTON. That's
CHENOWETH-HAGE. Would you like to introduce
Mr. MORTON. Thank
you, Chairwoman, and thank you for the rest of you being here. Go ahead. In the interest of time
let's get started then. This is a videotape that we've taken, and the Congressmen when I was in
Washington DC asked me if we could display it.
CHENOWETH-HAGE. Thank you, Senator Morton.
Before you're recognized for your oral testimony I do want to remind the witnesses of some of
the Committee rules. There's a bank of lights in front of you. I view them like traffic lights.
Green means go and yellow means wind up or step on the gas, I guess, and red means stop. So
we are under a time constraint and the hearing is just going to go right on through until we've
Page 22 PREV PAGE TOP OF DOCfinished. So, Senator Morton, you're recognized for your testimony.
STATEMENT OF HON. BOB MORTON, STATE SENATOR,
WASHINGTON STATE SENATE
Mr. MORTON. Thank
you very much, Madame Chairwoman, and again thank you for the others for being here. It's a
delight to share with my two Congressmen for my district encompasses a great portion of both of
This is the packet that I will be referring for you who are on the
Committee. This is the handout here for the general public that's up here on the floor, which is
basically the same material and they can pick that up later. I also have before you a three-ring
notebook that I put together which I will not testify on. That's merely information I had in my
files pertaining to the dams. I thought that might be helpful.
I'm just a little farm boy and so I would like to take you on a little
journey. I'd like to talk about the salmon, per se. Let's go back to 1994, and we had two proud
salmon go way up in my district and Doc Hastings district up into the upper Methow. There they
laid their eggs, they fertilized those eggs and the next spring.
Let's use one as an example, Jack was hatched. Jack the salmon was
hatched. And he started his journey from the hatchery. From the hatchery, this is important down
the Methow River. And he went down and he tumbled over the first dam and there he ended up
in the pool behind the Rocky Reach Dam, and there he met Jill and Jill had come down from the
Antiach (phonics) Hatchery and the two of them started their journey down the mighty Columbia
They tumbled over or went through perhaps the turbines of nine dams.
Finally, they reached the salt waters of the Pacific, 515 miles they traveled as just little guys.
Page 23 PREV PAGE TOP OF DOCFortunately for them they arrived there at night, and the key being at night they were able to
navigate past Rice Island, that was referred to by Congressman Nethercutt, where the birds could
not get at them in the night. They went out into the mighty Pacific Ocean, and as they turned they
were able to escape from the seals and the sea lions, and they started up the coast on the arch of
As they made their way up the coast of Washington, the coast of
British Columbia, the coast of Alaska, and finally on down the Aleutian chain growing as they
went and they arrived in the far eastern area of the Korean and Japanese waters.
By this time it was probably about 1995 '96, 1997, and they were about
half grown, delicious at this time, and their comrades were caught in the 30-mile long nets that
are there in that area, which we have tried to do something about but which our coast guard still
has information that those 30-mile long nets exist.
Some way they navigated those and they started the return back as
nature beckoned them to go back to their spawning area. We're now in 1995, 1996, maybe even
1997, and they go back up the coastal area of Alaska, past the sport fishermen, past the
commercial fishermen there. They escape all of this and they arrive back down again at the
mouth of the Columbia, having come down the coastal waters of British Columbia and
Here, again, they have to navigate somewhere between 400 to 800
seals and sea lions at the mouth of known predators that we're not doing anything about is my
point. Then they come up back past Rice Island and up the fish ladders of the mighty Bonneville,
and there from Bonneville to Umatilla they encompass in 1998, if they came, on September 2nd,
when I flew those waters they encompassed 400 tribal nets, perfectly legal, according to treaty,
Page 24 PREV PAGE TOP OF DOCaccording to judicial rulings, perfectly legal, 400 nets on both sides of the river approximately
400 feet long with a mesh of approximately seven inches, sometimes now BPA is going to put it
out there, I understand, at nine inches for experimental reasons.
Some way they get by those 400 nets. In 1999, on September 2nd, the
same day, the Indians had reduced it to 350 nets. My appreciation for them doing that. They
continue on. 515 miles they have to go over the fish ladders of eight dams and just before they
get to the ninth dam, a major decision.
Let's go back to Jack and Jill the fish. Jack turns to Jill and says we've
traveled all this distance and I understand without being too personal that, Chairwoman, you may
be familiar with this love factor now. They fall in love, and Jack says, Come on to my house.
You were raised in the Antiact but the waters of the Methow are marvelous. Please journey with
me on up there. We'll find the nice gravels of the Methow and we'll be able to make our
spawning bed there.
So they start over the last dam and up over the fish ladders and there at
Rocky Reach they go into the ponds and the channels of our good Washington State biologist.
Now, what's happened in the meantime? Two things have taken place.
The Federal Government has said with different rulings those salmon that did not return to their
waters of origin are destroyed.
Jill, Jill came out of Antiact. She is now going with Jack up the
Methow, naughty, naughty. She should have stayed in her waters of the Antiact. She did not. I
say to you, whoa, wait a minute. She spent 5 years, 80 percent of her life in the mighty Pacific.
She returned to the waters of her origin when she came to the Columbia River. That's the
drainage. Whichever creek she went up, I say biologists are being too finicky here, but because
Page 25 PREV PAGE TOP OF DOCshe came from the Antiact in her spawning years hatchery and she's now over the dam (making
noises) she is destroyed, along with her eggs.
Now, Jack, Jack remains and what happens to Jack? Uh, oh, you spent
too much time downstream courting Jill. If you had been here last week we were under quota.
Now, we're up to our quota. I'm sorry, Jack (making noises) and he's destroyed.
As the film portrays, I'm saying we must stop this. The information
hereI notice the amber lightI would like you to turn to the back of it where I have six
suggestions I would like to share with you and then I'll conclude, Madame Chair, and thank you
for the time.
Number 1, I want to read them so that the public can also hear them.
They may want to make some comments later.
1. The Federal Government must enact legislation to designate one
lead Federal agency for States and other local government to contact for providing information
for salmonids upon written request that we write and ask for. We need one agency not
conglomerish and goolosh which we now have.
2. The Federal Government must enact legislation that will allow
balance in regulating no known salmonid predators currently protected by Federal regulations.
3. Washington, Oregon, Idaho, Montana, California, collectively needs
to study the high seas. Thank you for being here, Dr. Mantua, I'll leave that up to you to cover.
mention your studies of the PDO for consideration.
4. Washington, Oregon, Idaho collectively need to obtain core
samples, which incidently were done in the early 1990's in the upper Columbia when we had a
health hazard up there on the pollutants coming out of Canada, core samples that will show us
Page 26 PREV PAGE TOP OF DOCthe bottom of the river of the Snake and the Columbia so we can see the strata of what's
happened from the bones of the fish through the years and also the pollutants. We need those
cores. I can't locate the ones that were taken now by WSU and Eastern Washington. We need
new ones for our scientists to do.
CHENOWETH-HAGE. Senator, I'm going to have to
ask to you to conclude.
Mr. MORTON. To
minimize the harm to listed species of the Columbia. This is, let's consider putting back into
force the fish wheels for our tribal people. Then our scientists and our tribes without the nets that
damage them will be able to use whatever they need for their meat and also be able to use
scientifically those salmon uninjured and let the rest go on, and that all fish finally returning to
the fresh waters of the State of Washington can go wherever they please to do their spawning,
rather than be corralled into one riverlet over another. Thank you very much.
[The prepared statement of Mr. Morton follows:]
Page 27 PREV PAGE TOP OF DOC
Page 28 PREV PAGE TOP OF DOC68012.030
CHENOWETH-HAGE. Thank you very much,
Mrs. Johansen, you're recognized for testimony for 5 minutes.
STATEMENT OF JUDITH JOHANSEN, ADMINISTRATOR,
BONNEVILLE POWER AUTHORITY, PORTLAND, OREGON
Thank you, Madame Chair. I'm afraid this is a hard act to follow.
Page 29 PREV PAGE TOP OF DOC Madame Chair, distinguished members of the Subcommittee, I am Judi
Johansen, the CEO and Administrator of The Bonneville Power Administration. I appreciate this
opportunity to appear before you today, and I would like to thank you for your support and your
attention to these critical issues for our region.
Madame Chair, Bonneville and the region want a comprehensive,
integrated fish plan for the Columbia River Basin that can be implemented. We believe that we
are coming closer to that goal, but the plan has to meet three criteria:
First of all, as mentioned in many of the members' statements it must
be scientifically sound. Second it has to comply with the legal obligations defined under treaties
and statutes, not just the treaties of the tribes but also international treaties. Thirdly it must have
broad regional support so that it is truly implementable.
Our vision for the plan is that it be broad enough to encompass not
only the listed stocks but also the needs of non-listed stocks. I believe that we can achieve the
twin goals of recovery of the weakened stocks and at the same time create more financial
certainty for this region.
In my testimony today, I would like to make three points about where
we're headed with the All-H Approach and where we can look forward.
First of all a durable, unified fish plan should be founded on
performance-based standards. You've perhaps heard that phrase in the last few months. We are
pressing for objective scientific standards on which our actions can be measured. That is
something that's been lacking in salmon recovery efforts over the past decade.
Second, my agency, The Bonneville Power Administration, is fully
committed to funding its share of the fish and wildlife program and it's fish and wildlife
Page 30 PREV PAGE TOP OF DOCobligation, we've established a financial strategy which takes us to that objective.
Finally, in echoing the comments of the members here today, this plan
has to be developed in close coordination with the States, local governments, and the tribes so
that it is truly acceptable and achievable in this region.
In terms of performance standards, let me just say a few words.
Performance standards are a means for establishing levels of survival improvements in each stage
of Jack and Jill's life. For example, a performance standard could require that a certain
percentage improvement in juvenile passage be required through the hydro system.
Performance standards are simply good management. They create clear objectives and they
provide flexibility on the part of the local residents and the stewards of the resources to define
the most efficient and effective means for achieving those standards. In other words, they
For the hydro system, the performance standards create a clear yard
stick against which to measure accomplishments necessary to remove these species from the
endangered and threatened list. Moreover, I believe these performance standards can encourage
us to talk about tradeoffs and look for the most effective and efficient way to achieve recovery.
For example, we recently were able to work with the National Marine
Fisheries Service to revise the spill program at the various Federal projects, using a performance
standard basis. We have reduced spill at some projects where it's been acknowledged that the
level of spill is killing fish and increased spill in some instances at other projects.
If we stretch our imaginations a little bit, it's possible that with the
performance standard approach Bonneville could fund habitat improvements instead of the hydro
Page 31 PREV PAGE TOP OF DOCsystem changes that others might suggest.
Turning performance standards into a reality is going to be the difficult
part, but Federal agencies, working in conjunction with the States and with the tribes have been
trying to hone in on the performance standards concept. I think substantial strides have been
made in coalescing that concept.
Let me just quickly go now to Bonneville's funding for salmon
recovery. Assuming that we develop this regional plan that has some sort of consensus,
Bonneville is committed to funding its share. We have complied with the 1995 Memorandum of
Agreement and are operating under the recently established fish funding principles, which are set
forth more specifically in my written testimony.
Finally, I would like to underscore that it is critically important to the
Federal agencies, especially Bonneville, to work closely with the Northwest Power Planning
Council to assure that we're coordinated with State efforts, and to work closely with the tribes to
make sure that the Federal agency efforts are complimentary to those that are taken by the other
In conclusion, I would like to thank you very much for inviting me to
testify before the Subcommittee, I look forward to working with you in developing this fish
recovery plan. I believe for the first time we have the chance to have accountability and objective
measurements that will get us to the objectives that we all want and that's more fish in the river.
Page 32 PREV PAGE TOP OF DOC [The prepared statement of Mrs. Johansen follows:]
CHENOWETH-HAGE. Thank you very much and
the Chair recognizes Colonel Mogren for his testimony.
STATEMENT OF COL. ERIC MOGREN, DEPUTY COMMANDER,
NORTHWESTERN DIVISION, U.S. ARMY CORPS OF ENGINEERS, PORTLAND,
Page 33 PREV PAGE TOP OF DOC Colonel MOGREN.
Before I start, I would like to introduce some other members of the Corps that are here today, the
panel, in your letter of invitation, had requested Mr. Doug Arndt from my staff to join us, and
Doug is here. We also have Lieutenant Colonel William Bulen, the Commander of the Walla
Walla District. Colonel Bulen is charged with preparing the Snake River DEIS. The reason I say
this is I listened to your opening comments. Clearly you have interests that have gone beyond
those that were listed in our letter of invitation. So as we get into your questions, what I may ask
is your indulgence and to call on the staff to assist in answering those questions so we can give
you as complete an answer as we possibly can.
Madame Chair, members of the Committee, thank you for the
opportunity to testify today. I am Colonel Eric Mogren, Deputy Commander of the Northwestern
Division of the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers. I will keep my remarks brief and submit a more
complete written testimony for the record. And this may be a little presumptuous, because I do
sense your interests have shifted somewhat from the letter of invitation, I'll fly by those things
that were in the letter and get your questions so that some of these other things can be answered
in perhaps more detail.
Madame Chair, you asked that I address the near-term actions for the
salmon, Corps study results, the status of the juvenile salmon transport program and how the
Corps plans to use PATH study information. I'll start with near-term actions.
In the coming years we will continue to augment flows, spill for fish
and operate the juvenile fish transportation program in accordance with applicable biological
opinions on the Federal Columbia River power system. We will continue to make improvements
Page 34 PREV PAGE TOP OF DOCto fish passage facilities including: extended-length screens, juvenile fish collection channel
improvements, improvements to adult passage and additional fish passage facilities. We will also
continue evaluating surface bypass systems and gas supersaturation and improvements in turbine
passage. Of course, we are in the process of completing the lower Snake River feasibility study
and phase one of the John Day draw-down study.
The lower Snake Study examines four major alternatives for the dams:
existing systems, maximum transport, major improvements and dam breaching. The draft John
Day Phase One Study looks at spillway crest and natural river level drawn down options, both
with and without flood control.
The Corps released its draft report and based on the estimated cost and
biological benefits expected of all four alternatives, the Corps preliminary recommendation is
that no further study of the John Day drawdown is warranted.
Other activities the Corps could take in the near term include habitat
improvements, such as assisting the fish and wildlife service in long-term planning for
addressing the Caspian Tern problems in the Columbia River estuary in improving wetland
conditions in the estuary.
As you may be aware the Corps was prepared to keep the Caspian Tern
population from nesting on Rice Island this year. However, a preliminary injunction has put a
halt to that effort. We are appealing that injunction and we are hoping to have a decision from the
court sometime later this week.
Concerning Corps studies, we continue to fund research and fish
passage and survival at the dams, surface bypass technologies, juvenile fish transportation, in
river passage, adult fish passage and turbine passage improvements. Based on study results we
have developed and refined fish passage facilities and modified our operations. The significant
Page 35 PREV PAGE TOP OF DOCincrease in survival rates through the system attests to the success of these improvements. For
example, research by the National Marine Fisheries Service indicates that between 50 and 60
percent of juvenile fish that migrate in river successfully pass the Corps dams on the lower Snake
and the Columbia. This is up from the 10 to 40 percent survivals we saw back in the 1960's and
Turning to the juvenile fish transportation program, since 1968, the
Corps has funded research to find the best methods of transporting juvenile salmon and to assess
related survival levels. We have determined that transported fish do not stray any more than
non-transported fish and most importantly transport returns significantly more fish than
non-transport as measured by smolt to adult return rates. Our research indicates that we get about
a two to one ratio of transported fish versus in-river fish returns. We also know that 98 percent of
the transported juvenile fish survive to the release point below Bonneville Dam.
One remaining question is the level of delayed mortality for
transported and non-transported fish. This is a significant factor in determining the overall
benefit of transport. Research is underway utilizing PIT tag technology to answer this critical
question. There is much we do not know about salmon and steelhead behavior and what affects
their survival. It is not fully understood why these stocks continue to decline. We believe further
research is needed to resolve some of these key uncertainties.
Turning to the Committee's question of how current transport research
information is dealt with in the PATH analysis. In its first draft biological appendix to the lower
Page 36 PREV PAGE TOP OF DOCSnake River Study, the National Marine Fisheries Service used the plan for analyzing and testing
hypotheses or PATH. Responding to concerns from the Independent Science Advisory Board
NMFS subsequently introduced an additional tool called the umulative Risk Initiative or CRI to
analyze the risks of extinction and to provide a broader analysis of salmon life stages.
These models build on each other and we looked at NMFS to interpret
the results. PATH, CRI, as well as additional research information will all be used in the
biological analysis for the final EIS.
Madame Chair, this concludes my testimony. I look forward to your
questions and I thank you again for the opportunity to be here.
[The prepared statement of Colonel Mogren follows:]
Page 37 PREV PAGE TOP OF DOC68012.054
CHENOWETH-HAGE. Thank you, Colonel Mogren.
The Chair recognizes Dr. Mantua.
STATEMENT OF DR. NATHAN MANTUA, ASSOCIATE
PROFESSOR OF ATMOSPHERIC SCIENCE, JOINT INSTITUTE FOR THE STUDY OF
ATMOSPHERE & OCEANS, UNIVERSITY OF WASHINGTON, SEATTLE,
Mr. MANTUA. Thank
you, Madame Chair, and members of the Committee, I appreciate the opportunity to testify at
this hearing today. I am Nathan Mantua. I'm an atmospheric scientist at the University of
Washington and my studies have focused on climate in the Pacific and more recently climate
impacts on natural resources, including Pacific salmon in the Northwest. There will be four
things that I want to report on in my testimony: First, in the past century coastal ocean habitat in
Page 38 PREV PAGE TOP OF DOCthe northeast Pacific has been highly variable, and that's also true in the broader, open waters of
the north Pacific; Second, much of the variability is related to the tropical El NinAE6o/La
NinAE6a phenomenon that we hear so much about in the media; Third, much of the
decade-to-decade variability is related to a recently named phenomenon, the Pacific Decadal
Oscillation that was mentioned in the first testimony;
Fourth, the unusually warm era that began in 1977 may have ended in 1998. However, a lack of
understanding the long-term climate cycles bases any long-term climate forecasts like those
looking 10, 20 to 30 years in the future, much more on faith than on science.
Now, I'll read from the summary of my Testimony.
Though scientists are not certain of all the factors controlling salmon
marine survival in the Pacific Northwest, several ocean-climate events have been linked with
fluctuations in Northwest salmon health and abundance. These include: El NinAE6o/La
NinAE6a, the Pacific Decadal Oscillation, the atmospheric Aleutian Low, and coastal upwelling.
Each of these features of the climate system influences the character and quality of marine
habitat experienced by Pacific salmon.
Cooler than average coastal ocean temperatures prevailed from the
mid-1940's through 1976, while relatively warm conditions prevailed from 1925 to 1945 and
again from 1977 to 1998. The decades-long climate cycles have been linked with the Pacific
Decadal Oscillation, which is an especially long-lived El NinAE6o-like feature of the Pacific
climate. In the past century, warm ocean temperature eras coincided with relatively poor ocean
conditions for most stocks of Pacific salmon in the Northwest, while cool ocean temperature eras
coincided with relatively good ocean conditions for Northwest salmon.
Pacific climate changes beginning in late 1998, indicate that the
post-1977 era of unusually warm coastal ocean temperatures may have ended. Coincident with
Page 39 PREV PAGE TOP OF DOCthe demise of the extreme 19970998 El NinAE6o, ocean temperatures all along the Pacific coast
of North America cooled to near or below average values, and this situation has generally
persisted to date. Recent climate forecasts, largely based on expectations for continued but
weakening tropical La NinAE6a conditions, suggests that these cool ocean temperatures are
likely to persist at least through the spring and on into the summer of 2000.
Beyond the coming summer there are no strong indications that there
will be major changes in the ocean state. If the recent past is a useful guide to the future one
might surmise that there is a reasonably good chance that cool coastal ocean temperatures will
persist for the next 20 to 30 years.
On the other hand, there has been no demonstrated skill in North
Pacific climate predictions beyond about 1 year windows into the future. Thus, a lack of
understanding for Pacific long lived climate cycles bases 20 to 30 year forecasts more on faith
than on science.
With a focus on the next five to 7 years, one may be much more
confident in predicting that coastal ocean temperatures and coastal marine habitat quality will
continue varying within and between seasons, as well as within and between years.
It seems that climate insurance for Columbia River salmon may be
provided by adopting management strategies aimed at restoring some of the characteristics
possessed by healthy wild salmon populations. Although the mechanisms are not completely
understood, wild salmon evolved behaviors that allowed them to persist and thrive under variable
ocean conditions. Management actions taken to restore some of the wild salmon characteristics
that have been lost in the past century are likely to be fruitful roots for minimizing the negative
impacts of poor ocean conditions and may also prove beneficial during periods of especially
good ocean conditions. There is little doubt that the ocean environment will continue to vary
Page 40 PREV PAGE TOP OF DOCbetween favorable and unfavorable conditions for Columbia River salmon populations, and this
is true at both year-to-year and decade-to-decade time scales. That concludes my testimony.
[The prepared statement of Mr. Mantua follows:]
CHENOWETH-HAGE. Thank you, Dr. Mantua.
Dr. Jim Anderson is recognized for testimony.
Page 41 PREV PAGE TOP OF DOCSTATEMENT OF DR. JIM ANDERSON, ASSOCIATE
PROFESSOR, COLUMBIA BASIN RESEARCH, UNIVERSITY OF WASHINGTON,
Mr. ANDERSON. Thank
you, Madame Chairman. It's an honor to be testifying before the Committee. This is an exciting
time for scientists because we have a great opportunity to be proven wrong and scientists always
enjoy that. The reasons we are being proven wrong is because we use analyses which are often
out of date, while nature and research continues to go on. Now, the recommendations that I'm
going to bring forward and how we might want to focus things are based on the fact that
conditions have changed radically in the last year, as Nate Mantua has shown.
Well, things first went wrong in the PATH conclusions which were
based on data through 1990, concluding that the only way to recover the runs was to remove the
dams. They also concluded there was high mortality through the hydro system. The new studies
on in-river survival show that high mortality doesn't exist and so mortality is happening. A lot of
the conclusions that have come out of PATH simply don't comport with the existing data.
The cumulative risk initiative of NMFS has also had an opportunity to
be wrong because they projected that runs are in a dire condition based on returns through brood
year 1994. As we now know the ocean has changed considerably and there are a significant
number of fish coming back to the river.
Now, many of the things that both of theses groups have done are
right, but these elements are important and I think they need to be understood as we look for
reasons or things to do in the near future.
The most interesting fact I want to bring forward is that the fish runs
Page 42 PREV PAGE TOP OF DOChave changed considerably, and I think many people are aware of that right now. In this year, we
have the makings of a run, which is two to three times the 10-year average of fish coming back
into the Columbia River. Many of these fish will travel up into the Snake River system. They are
different than fish that came back in the 1960's because these are mostly hatchery fish, and that's
part of the issue that I want to bring forward and something that needs to be considered.
The projections for next year's run are truly astronomical if we look at
the Jack returns this year. The Jack are precocious males that come back in the first year in the
ocean last year they returned at a record level. We had the highest run since we've been
collecting data in 1977, and right now the projection up to today is that the runs are about 10
times larger than they were in 1977. There are a lot of Jacks coming back, which also suggest
there is going to be a lot of fish coming back in the next couple of years.
As we know, the ocean has changed fundamentally and appears to be
in a better condition. This change will last for a few years or it could last for a long time. I hope
it's going to last 20 years, so I have an opportunity to be wrong. Many scientists saying a regime
shift has happened.
Considering that we are all wrong, what do we do, or that we are
potentially are all wrong, what do we do for the future. I have three suggestions. One is we need
to separate harvest. We need to make sure that the wild fish get up to the spawning ground, that
they are able to spawn and at the same time we are harvesting the hatchery fish. That's not
possible right now because some of the hatchery fish are not tagged to sepovate wild fish a live
harvest is needed so we can determine which ones to release back into the river.
Another important factor is to try to improve hatcheries. As the runs
Page 43 PREV PAGE TOP OF DOCincrease, and we haven't thought about the possibility of runs increasing, the hatchery production
has been increased to compensate for the previous low runs. Now that stocks are increasing we
might consider cutting back on the hatchery production and allowing more of the wild fish to use
the resources. We also need to look at the genetics of these hatchery fish. Maybe some of them
can very spawn with the wild fish. May others should be removed. In either case we should
improve the genetic and behavioral qualities of hatchery fish. I think there needs to be more
emphasis on this.
The third suggestion I would think we should take a careful look at
flow augmentation. In some situations I think it does no good for the fish. It's often neutral and in
other conditions I think it's bad for the fish. We recently conducted an analysis which indicates
that summer flow augmentation from the Hell's Canyon complex is actually detrimental because
it warms the water which can increase the Feeding rate of the predators. These are the three
suggestions that the region we might do in the near future to improve the runs. Thank you.
[The prepared statement of Mr. Anderson follows:]
Page 44 PREV PAGE TOP OF DOC68012.072
CHENOWETH-HAGE. Thank you, Dr. Anderson. I
want to thank all the witnesses for their testimony, and without objection your entire testimonies
will be entered into the official record, including Senator Morton's notebook here. I want to again
thank you for your testimony, and I want to remind our members that the Committee Rule 2(i)
imposes a 5-minute limit on questions that the members may ask. And so the Chair will now
recognize members for any questions that they may wish to ask the witnesses beginning with Mr.
Mr. SIMPSON. Thank
you, Madame Chairman.
Ms. Johansen, there has been some concerns raised that the Bonneville
Page 45 PREV PAGE TOP OF DOChas not expended the total amount of funds that have been allocated under the memorandum of
agreement for fish funding. In fact, by some estimates up to 185 million dollars has not been
expended. Why is there such a large sum allowed funding not being spent and are there projects
out there not being funded for fish recovery that these could be funds could be spent on.
Mrs. JOHANSEN. The
180 million dollars that you referred to is the difference between what we expected would be
appropriated by Congress back when the MOA was entered into and what Congress really
appropriated. Bonneville budgeted the repay for a much higher level of principal and interest for
anticipated Congressional appropriations since we reimburse the U.S. Treasury for the power
user share of Congressional Appropriations provided for the Corps of Engineers and the Bureau
fish of reclamation projects in the Federal Columbia River Power System.
The 180 million dollars will be carried forward into our next rate
period and will be made available for our fish and wildlife projects, which is our commitment
under Memorandum of Agreement. More importantly, my concern is that people not be fixated
on how to spend 180 million dollars, but instead focus on how do we develop a sound plan for
fish recovery, including near term measures. If there are additional near term measures that are
scientifically sound that run through the appropriate scientific review of the Independent Science
Review Panel and the Power Council's process, and that achieve the objectives under The
Endangered Species Act, then Bonneville stands willing to fund those measures. If necessary, we
could reopen the allocations in the Memorandum of Agreement but my expectation is that we
have adequate funds available now to handle any additional measures that might be deemed
urgent for an emergency.
Colonel Mogren, obviously you have read in the papers recently about the decision that was
Page 46 PREV PAGE TOP OF DOCmade to not include a preferred alternative by Corps, and allegations or the implications or
whatever that there was influence from the Administration in the White House in this decision.
Could you go through that and tell me how this came about and why there will not be a preferred
alternative, it's relatively, is it not, to do an EIS without creating a preferred alternative?
That is rare. Let me go back and start. What I'll do is I'll carry you through our process that I'm
personally familiar with, and to speculate on the motives of some of the decisions that were
made, I'm not sure would be appropriate on my part. I would be happy to share with you the
events that transpired as I participated in them, and as I'm aware of them.
As you know, throughout the process the Corps had planned all along
to issue a draft EIS with a preferred alternative. We had said that in testimony; we had said that
throughout the region. I believe it was the August or September timeframe, and frankly I may ask
the staff to help with some of the specific dates. The district had started to put together its
recommendation. As I mentioned before the Walla Walla district is charged with putting the draft
EIS together, and they had started formulating that preferred alternative.
They had done that. Colonel Bulen had forwarded it to my boss,
General Strock. Our staff had looked at it. We were not in complete agreement with everything
that was in that document, made some revisions to it in accordance with our review process and
then forwarded the document up to our headquarters. This was all in accordance with our normal
process for this.
We had notified the other Federal agencies and this was on in early
October now. I think we noted it on the 8th. Again, I'm not one hundred percent sure of the date
Page 47 PREV PAGE TOP OF DOCbecause as we had talked to the agencies and kept Washington informed, we had intended to
issue a preferred alternative and one of the steps in our process would be to discuss that and go
into consultation on that with the other Federal agencies in the region. We were in the process of
setting up a meeting to do just that.
Our document went forward to our headquarters. Sometime after the
8th of October, we had received guidance not to include a preferred alternative. That guidance
originated with the Assistant Secretary of the Army for Civil Works, who had sent a memo to the
Chief of Engineers, General Joe Ballard. That was subsequently transmitted to us with guidance
from our headquarters to go forward without a preferred alternative and that's subsequently what
we did, we complied with that guidance.
Mr. SIMPSON. I
appreciate that explanation. I understand that there are at least several Senate Committees
looking into this and asking the same kind of questions and they've asked for a variety of
information. Would you be sure that the same information is available to this Committee?
Colonel MOGREN. I
will certainly do that.
Mr. SIMPSON. I
appreciate that very much. Let me ask one more question of Dr. Anderson. Given your testimony
I'm not sure, I assume that you believe that the PATH decision process and the CRI is not
adequate in terms of making future critical decisions on this; is that an accurate statement?
Mr. ANDERSON. That's
true. I think the new information on the ocean and fish causes the predictions from those two
analyses to be inaccurate and misleading.
Mr. SIMPSON. Thank
Page 48 PREV PAGE TOP OF DOCyou. Thank you, Madame Chairman.
CHENOWETH-HAGE. Thank you. The Chair
recognizes Mr. Hastings.
Mr. HASTINGS. Thank
you, Madame Chairman. I appreciate it. Colonel Mogren, let me just followup because my
colleague from Idaho asked a question that I wanted to ask. I wanted to kind of tie this down a
bit. You're stationed where?
Colonel MOGREN. I'm
Portland, OK, and you were involved in this process last fall?
Mr. HASTINGS. OK,
from the Portland standpoint working from?
From the division headquarters; yes.
Mr. HASTINGS. Your
recommendation as it had left your office going to Washington DC was that you would come up
with a preferred alternative?
Well, the recommendation that went forward contained our proposed preferred alternative.
Mr. HASTINGS. So I
say you were to recommend the preferred alternative?
Page 49 PREV PAGE TOP OF DOC Colonel MOGREN.
Mr. HASTINGS. Which
was that breaching should not be an option?
Walla Walla District had proposed our alternative three, which was major system improvements
with maximum barging. My staff looked at that and a briefing from the National Marine
Fisheries Service on transport which had indicated to us in terms of recovery that we may have
gotten about all that we were going to get out of transport. So whereas the transport program was
vital to the survival of fish that we are seeing now increases to that level would only have
marginal improvements. So rather than supporting the maximum transport recommendation, our
staff said it might be more reasonable to take a flexible approach to assist in monitoring in
evaluation efforts to get to the question of delayed mortality, for example.
The other point that we are not in complete agreement with was a
fairly definitive recommendation from the district for non-breaching, and that was based largely
on the uncertainty of the science at that point in time. I want to emphasize we were talking about
the August, September, early October timeframe.
That same uncertainty in our view probably mitigated against such a
definitive statement. So our proposal that went forward called for not breaching, not at this point
in time, and there may be some point in the as the science evolved and matured that may, in fact,
Mr. HASTINGS. It's safe
to say that your preferred alternative, knowing that anything is on the table, was not to breach
Page 50 PREV PAGE TOP OF DOCand you had some other alternatives to enhance fish passage and so forth; is that right.
Mr. HASTINGS. So
when it got up to the level in Washington DC, that decision was made and you weren't involved
in that process at all?
Colonel MOGREN. No,
no, other than I went up to my headquarters and again in accordance with our process and briefed
our staff on where we were. Some of staff that were in the staff in the room with us were part of
that, made sure the staff was aware of that and then there was a policy review process that we go
through with our normal EIS's. As I indicated subsequently we had the guidance not to use it.
Mr. HASTINGS. You
had to follow orders, and I respect that. So the inquiries from the Senate presumably will be
focused not on your level but at higher level then, is that a good presumption?
Colonel MOGREN. Sir,
I don't know. I assume so, but I don't know.
Mr. HASTINGS. I won't
put words in your mouth on that. OK, thank you, Colonel Mogren. I appreciate that.
Senator Morton, you gave us a very interesting handout here. On page
12, you have and this is nothing do with hatchery fish. It's a very interesting water flow with fish
runs measurement at Astoria that you comply with figures from the U.S. Geological Survey and
the Corps of Engineers and so forth indicating that low flows is where your highest fish runs are
historically and the converse is true.
Could you elaborate on that and if either one of you would like to pick
Page 51 PREV PAGE TOP OF DOCup on that, if you haven't seen that chart it's in Senator Morton's handout on page 12.
Senator Morton, let me start with you.
Thank you, Congressman. Yes, the lower graph portion on the second page, both pages have to
be studied together, and it has to be studied. It starts in 1938. We went back that far when we
have these figures. We only went up or were able to go up to 1986 because of the data not being
available at Astoria where the gauging station was eliminated. So in looking at both pages, yes,
what you analyzed is correct. It's very interesting that during the low flows of the Columbia
River were the highest salmon runs, and the inverse is also true, that during the highest flows we
had the lowest runs. I'm not a biologist. We just analyzed that. It came out as we looked at the
figures and data, so we printed it up.
Mr. HASTINGS. I know
Dr. Anderson and Dr. Mantua, you haven't had a chance to look at that at all.
Mr. MANTUA. No, I
have not had a chance to look at this particular graphic or table, but previous work that has been
done tends to support just the opposite conclusion: that during high flow years in the Columbia
system and throughout streams in the northwest, this is integrated over what we call the water
year, the month of October to the following September so it captures both snow melt
accumulation and melt season.
If you look at gauge flows on the Dalles, which captures most of the
Columbia Basin, you see that that's well correlated with cold ocean conditions and good ocean
habitat that we have associated with these climate cycles. So, in fact, there is some interaction
going on both in the river and in the ocean that is connected to the same climate pattern, the
Page 52 PREV PAGE TOP OF DOCPacific Decadel Oscillation, changes in the wintertime circulation, and most of the work that has
been done in that area that I'm aware of and that I've participated in suggests that heavy snow
pack, high stream flows, cold ocean temperatures all go together with the productive years.
On the other hand, low flows, low snow pack, mild winter temperature
and warm ocean conditions have gone with poor production. So it's actually contrary to the
conclusions from this graphic.
Mr. HASTINGS. Thank
you very much.
CHENOWETH-HAGE. The Chair would recognize
Senator Morton for a response for 1 minute.
Senator MORTON. I
think it would be very helpful if the good doctor could use the information. We didn't have the
time, Doctor, to go down through month by month. I think that would reveal even more if we do
as you're indicating seasonally, at least for the four seasons and/or month by month. We just
printed the data as it was revealed to us.
CHENOWETH-HAGE. Dr. Mantua and Senator
Morton, this information is quite startling and the sources are from the USGF and U.S. Army
Corps of Engineers and at first glance it's hard to tell how it could be wrong. I wonder if the two
of you could work together and send the subsequent report to the Committee? Would you do
that? Thank you very much.
Chair recognizes Mr. Nethercutt.
Page 53 PREV PAGE TOP OF DOCThank you, Madame Chairman. Colonel Mogren, what is the date, sir, if you can recall that you
were notified of the decision that altered the recommendation which left your office and the
Walla Walla district office for the east? Do you remember when that came back to you and you
discovered that this preferred alternative was to be removed?
Colonel MOGREN. It
Mr. ARNDT. 8 October.
Colonel MOGREN. I
know our note went off and we received verbal guidance on the 8th of October and it was
followed up in writing I believe a week or so later. I don't recall the exact date.
Mr. NETHERCUTT. The
issuance then of the Corps recommendations or conclusions without a recommendation, so to
speak, what was the date of that issuance?
Again, I need to refer to Mr. Arndt. Incidently, those dates obviously are in the documents that
Mr. Hastings has asked for. So if we can't satisfy this question here, we would be happy to
submit that for the record.
Colonel MOGREN. Do
you remember the dates of the documents of the Walla Walla recommendation, our
recommendation, and the respond memo from headquarters off the top of your head? Sir, we'll
have to submit it. Walla Walla District recommendationOctober 14, 1999 Northwestern
Division recommendation to HeadquartersOctober 18, 1999 Headquarters response
memoNovember 2, 1999.
Page 54 PREV PAGE TOP OF DOC Mr. NETHERCUTT.
That's fine. I'm not trying to test your memory. I'm trying to get a sense of the gap in time from
when this decision may have been made, and I'm sure that the Senate and the House will
complete the investigations to decide who did what, when and to whom.
I appreciate the work of the Walla Walla district office and the initial
recommendations for a preferred alternative. I think that's valuable to know that history and the
history of your office has been what I consider positive in connection with trying to solve this
problem in a scientific manner as opposed to a political fashion. I'm informed that the
Environmental Protection Agency is in the process of preparing a letter concerning the Lower
Snake River Environmental Impact Statement. I also understand that the letter will notify the
Corps of an environmentally unsatisfactory rating for non-breach alternatives in the study. Are
you aware of that letter?
Yes, sir, we are.
Mr. NETHERCUTT. Is
that rating of environmentally unsatisfactory a surprise to you?
Colonel MOGREN. We
were surprised by the severity of the rating. Back in August EPA had reviewed a preliminary
draft that was based at that point on the PATH report and it issued us a rating of environmental
objective EO2, which is less severe. We have subsequently been meeting with the Environmental
Protection Agency to try to resolve some of these very important water quality issues. Their
concerns are gas abatement, their concerns are water temperature and air quality issues, I believe
Mr. Hastings referred to earlier in his comment were also part of this.
Page 55 PREV PAGE TOP OF DOC During the course of those negotiations and discussions there was
nothing that came up that was going to indicate in our view that a more severe rating such as
unsatisfactory was forthcoming. In fact, we did not know that until the regional administrator,
Mr. Clark, had given a call to our office and indicated that this was forthcoming.
When will that letter be available for review?
Colonel MOGREN. I
don't know. I believe EPA is going to sign that this week. So I would assume later this week but
again I don't know.
Mr. NETHERCUTT. I am
wondering what impact the EPA letter whenever it's received and revealed and issued for review,
what impact will that have on your process and your recommendation of an alternative and the
activities that are continuing on an ongoing basis? My concern is that the likelihood may be
higher now that this is a political determination from the EPA, as well as from Corps of
Engineers, in my humble opinion, and that casts in doubt the question of whether you will be
able to, you the Corps, will be able to issue a final recommendation and conclusion based on
sound science as opposed to political science and I hate to have that definition muddled as we
know it. I hope you get my point.
Can you assure us that you are going to do your best, at least at your
level, at the Walla Walla office district level to make sure that this is not a political decision that
this is a sound science based decision, even with EPA involved given the surprise that apparently
is coming at you with respect to this letter and the more severe determination they have
Colonel MOGREN. Sir,
Page 56 PREV PAGE TOP OF DOCjust to go back to an earlier comment I made in response to one of the earlier questions. I would
prefer not speculate or comment on the motives behind any of the actions ongoing. With regard
to your specific question about the impact on the process, we have received almost 90,000
comments. In fact, it was 90,000 last week. My guess is it's gone up since then regarding this
issue and the EPA is one of those 90,000. Clearly, it is very important. We are dealing with the
Clean Water Act and this is not something that the Corps takes lightly.
Clearly, there's direct implications on water quality imposed by the
Clean Water Act, and we are not taking those issues lightly. We will address those issues fully
and completely in our EIS.
One of the EPA's criticisms was that we do really give this due weight
in terms of discussion and evaluation in the report. One thing we've committed to do is bring that
information forthcoming so anybody who reads this report has the benefit of that analysis.
Mr. NETHERCUTT. Did
the recommendation come from that Washington DC office with respect to this environmental
consideration or did it come from the regional office or the local office, or where did it come
Colonel MOGREN. It is
my understanding it will be signed by Mr. Clark, the regional administrator. So I assume it came
from his office. Again, I don't really know that. I assume that's where it's coming from.
Again, going back to process, we have already met with EPA this last
week and we've agreed to some procedures to get to some of these issues that are in contention,
such as the impacts of the dams on water temperatures, such as what can we do about dissolved
I want to emphasize that the EPA and the Corps are working very
Page 57 PREV PAGE TOP OF DOCstrongly to try to resolve some of these issues, but there are some fundamental disagreements
here. One of the issues, of course, is that from a biological standpoint with dissolved gas, the
State of, I don't mean to isolate anybody from the State of Washington up here but the State of
Washington has routinely waived the gas standard during fish passage season up to 120 percent
level, which National Marine Fisheries indicates, you know, the Federal scientists indicate it's
safe for juvenile salmon bypass. An absolute standard for the water quality is 110 percent. So
what we have is a conflict between the standards of the Clean Water Act and the standards from
the ESA as expressed as biological opinion that we operate to. I'm not sure what the resolution to
I guess my final point I would make, sir, is to go to your point. What
the Corps has always seen as its role in this whole process is to provide the best economic and
scientific data that we can put together from the broadest number of sources, have as open a
process as we can and to render a recommendation that will inform this process. I think the
ultimate decision on this is going to be a political decision because you're balancing some very
strongly held and competing values out here and that's what you guys get paid to do. What I get
paid to do is inform that through whatever analysis and so on and data and information that we
can collect and put together and provide to you.
Madame Chairman, could I ask one question?
CHENOWETH-HAGE. Mr. Hastings.
Mr. HASTINGS. Thank
you. I just wanted to followup where you said Washington was waiving the rules regarding the
level of 120. Isn't that because that's where the dams are and isn't that because there are people
Page 58 PREV PAGE TOP OF DOCthat are saying you need more flow. If you are going to have more flow you have release more
water over the dams and therefore you are going to have more super saturation? It seems to me
there is a conflict based in that statement from those that are involved in this.
You've hit it on the head, the conflict between the Clean Water Act requirements and the ESA
Biological Opinion requirements. The 1995 Biological Opinion requires spill, under set
conditions, requires spill to help fish bypass. That pushes your dissolved gas rate at the dams at
which the spill occurs.
Mr. HASTINGS. Which
are detrimental to fish passage; is that correct?
Colonel MOGREN. I'm
Mr. HASTINGS. Which
are detrimental to the fish that get caught up in that super saturation; is that correct?
Well, right, presumably above a certain level; correct.
Mr. HASTINGS. I won't
ask you to draw his conclusion, but it seems to me we are really in conflict because it seems to
me most of the discussion has been on more flow augmentation, more water is what it is. So I
just want to make that point because you made the point that these things are waived and yet we
seem to be fighting ourselves on the back side.
We are not focusing on the impact on the super saturation.
Mr. HASTINGS. Thank
you. Thank you, Madame Chairman, I appreciate the consideration.
Page 59 PREV PAGE TOP OF DOC Mrs.
CHENOWETH-HAGE. Thank you, Mr. Hastings. I
want to ask Senator Morgon in your amendment to your testimony, on page one, you quote Chief
Spokane Gerry from the Congressional Record in 1877, on this page, at the very bottom. Did you
retrieve that quote from the Congressional Record yourself?
Madame Chair, on page 14 it's elaborated on further in the Congressional Record and the State of
the State Message by Governor John Rankin Rogers in 1899. Those are both elaborated on on
CHENOWETH-HAGE. Thank you, Senator. I
wanted to ask Dr. Mantua, have you seen this quote from Chief Spokane Gerry in 1877? That
quote is, ''My people have not be able to lay in stock enough of salmon for their winter food.''
it's very interesting. Obviously, this came from the Congressional Record. Do we have climate
studies that go back that far that can show this 30-year cycle that you testified to, Doctor?
Mr. MANTUA. We
don't have very good ones but we have flow records from the Columbia River that date back to
1878, and that's one the most reliable and long-term direct measurements we have in the region.
So we can't get to 1877. Of course, we do have excellent fishery records reconstructed from
cannery pack that date back to the same time period. So it would be very important to include
that information when you evaluate a statement like this. There are other sources of climate
information, like tree rings that people that I work with are actively working on to try to
reconstruct past climate in the Northwest and we're hosting a workshop next week in Seattle to
get at issues like this, what was the climate like prior to direct instrumental measurements.
Page 60 PREV PAGE TOP OF DOCCHENOWETH-HAGE. I think it's quite startling to
me that the Native American were unable to even be able to stock in enough salmon for winter
because obviously the fish runs were down even then and that's long before any dams existed.
Mr. MANTUA. True,
but you must consider there was a very large lower river commercial fishery developed by that
CHENOWETH-HAGE. In 1877?
Mr. MANTUA. I believe
CHENOWETH-HAGE. That would be interesting to
Dr. Anderson, you testified that the fact that there needs to be more
genetic studies of these listed stocks of salmon. Is there really any difference in the gene pool
between the hatchery fish and the wild fish? Is there really any difference?
Mr. ANDERSON. I can't
give you an easy answer to that. Some of the hatcheries are probably close to the wild stocks and
some of the hatcheries are very different because of the way that fish have been shipped all over
the Northwest when the hatchery programs were first established.
I think that's a good question and we should really begin to look at
endangered species in the hatcheries and in the wild and try to sort out what is the difference
between these two groups can we be a little bit more flexible maybe in how we manage both
hatcheries and wild fish.
Page 61 PREV PAGE TOP OF DOCCHENOWETH-HAGE. But in the Columbia River
system is there a difference in the gene pool between the hatchery salmon and the wild salmon?
Mr. ANDERSON. There
might be in some cases. I'm not an expert in that particular field as far as past.
CHENOWETH-HAGE. I see. In your testimony you
indicated that we should harvest the hatchery salmon while letting the wild salmon go free. How
do you propose that we harvest the hatchery salmon? There are methods; life catch methods, fish
wheels marking all the clipping of fin of all the hatchery fish, not using gill nets, having catch
and release programs.
Most of this separation of harvest would have to be done in the river, I
believe. Right now it's not being done.
CHENOWETH-HAGE. I want to ask of Ms.
Johansen, can you explain to us, how the additional 24-hour spill of all the dams, except the
Dalles, will affect reliable power production and reliability as far as energy produced and what is
the cost of the region of this new spill activity?
Mrs. JOHANSEN. The
most recent spill regimen that my staff has discussed with the National Marine Fisheries Service
staff basically results in the same financial package that we have. In other words, there is no
change. There was a significant reduction of spill at The Dalles and that was countermanded by
increases at other projects. So, the net effect financially is zero.
Page 62 PREV PAGE TOP OF DOC However your question is a good and important question. Due to several factors, including
the derating of the hydro system, load growth in the region, and the fact that there has not been
very much construction of new generation in this region, we face a critical reliability issue that
we have to deal with now. Our studies reveal that if we embark on significant further spill on the
Columbia, especially down at the projects that are closely tied in with the California Intertie that
further derating could cause reliability problems in not only the Northwest but also in California
as well. So, in working with the National Marine Fisheries Service, we try to make them aware
of the transmission constraints and make sure that they understand where we run into those
problems. Reliability is an important issue that this region does need to focus on. We've stretched
the system to it's limits and the flexibility that we had even 5 or 10 years ago is gone.
CHENOWETH-HAGE. Has the BPA analyzed and
can you tell the Committee where you will be getting other power during those high demand
peak weeks during August, September even in July when you are spilling and yet there's such a
high demand in the region. What will you supplement the power with?
Mrs. JOHANSEN. The
region is in a load resource deficit. Most of that deficit is not on the Federal system, although we
do have a large share of the deficit. I don't want to understate that. The problem is not just on the
Page 63 PREV PAGE TOP OF DOCFederal side, but it's also a problem for other utilities. For peak operations, if we don't have
adequate water to provide or adequate resources in the Federal system, we rely on seasonal
purchases from California. So, the use of the interties is quite important to us to meet our peak
demand. We also rely on power purchases to the extent they're available from Canada because
Canada has surpluses, but there are transmission constraints there, and for future generation
construction how much of that will Bonneville purchase? We have recently concluded, and
yesterday I signed the final record of decision on our Subscription Strategy, which will require
that Bonneville add another 1500 to 1700 megawatts of power to augment our system so that we
can cover all of the demand that we've committed to. We are covering that with purchases from
independent power producers and a mix of utility purchases as well.
CHENOWETH-HAGE. The power produced in
California is significantly higher than that produced on the Columbia River system; is that not
Mrs. JOHANSEN. The
cost of power on the West Coast is now dictated by a market that has been established as a result
of deregulation. So, the difference between the cost of market power in the Northwest is not that
significant versus California, and the market price we pay there however, the cost of production
does vary between the regions and you're correct in that.
CHENOWETH-HAGE. Because the facilities on the
Columbia are so low cost and meet the demand of the Northwest Power Act in having a
renewable resource for its fuel source, has the BPA analyzed the conflict here that may appear to
us to be in the Northwest Power Act? The activities from BPA that seem to be focusing solely
almost in some cases on the salmon and the cost of reliable low cost renewable resources seem to
Page 64 PREV PAGE TOP OF DOCbe sacrificed.
Mrs. JOHANSEN. We
have quite a significant focus on maintaining low cost power. In fact, as I sit before you today we
are the lowest cost provider save perhaps Idaho Power Company in the region. We embarked on
significant cost cutting in order to establish that position. We have cut over a half billion dollars
a year from our annual budgets to make sure that low cost continues to be provided in this
At the same time, we are making investments in efficiency
improvements in the Federal hydro system working with the Corps and the Bureau through the
direct funding agreements. It's enabled us to work together to find efficiency improvements in
the hydro system that we otherwise wouldn't find, We are also increasing our transmission rates
to enhance the reliability of the transmission system, which as I said earlier has been stretched to
its limits in many instances.
While I publicly seem to be only addressing fish issues, really 99
percent of what I do and what my agency does is try to assure transmission reliability since we
are the primary owner in this region. We also work with the Corps and the Bureau to make sure
the efficiency improvements are made in the hydro system and in working with Energy
Northwest on their nuclear plant.
CHENOWETH-HAGE. Thank you. The members
have asked for a second round of questions and I will recognize them for a second round
beginning with Mr. Nethercutt.
Page 65 PREV PAGE TOP OF DOC Mr. NETHERCUTT. I
want to conclude my questions here in the second round by thanking each one of you for your
testimony. We always get stuck on the 5-minute rule. We love it but we hate it because otherwise
it would be interminable. We sure thank you for your testimony. It's been compelling today and,
Madame Chairman, we will be able to submit questions for the record, perhaps.
Mr. NETHERCUTT. Then
with your indulgence if we have question we would request that you file answers at your earliest
Ms. Johansen, I'm interested in your performance standards testimony
and I think it makes sense. I urge that you think carefully about the development of those
standards and also include a local input to the development of the standards. Is that what you had
in mind, also?
Actually, the performance standards are being developed by the National Marine Fisheries
Service and they will be articulated in their Biological Opinion. The Federal agencies have been
working with National Marine Fisheries Service to develop those standards, but they will
ultimately be the call of NMFS.
NMFS intends, or at least it's our understanding that they intend, to
release a draft Biological Opinion for review by the States and tribes around May 22nd. So, that
would be an opportunity for the State and local governments and other to comment on those
performance standards. This is the first time that we've done this, the region has done this. One
of the other things that National Marine Fisheries Service is contemplating is review of those
Page 66 PREV PAGE TOP OF DOCstandards by the National Academy of Sciences. So, the intention is to make them as credible and
relevant as possible.
Mr. NETHERCUTT. So
there will be an opportunity for public comment and for additional local input. The local
agriculture conservation districts are doing very good work and perhaps would want to have
input into the establishment of those standards. I also was interested in your testimony where you
indicated that funding habitat improvements makes sense as well in the full picture of trying to
Dr. Skinner, Mike Skinner is going to be testifying here on the next
panel or the following about the issue of reproductive biology as it relates to fish and looking at
what they are doing and why they are not doing it in connection with this whole great problem. I
wonder if you or agency would consider funding, relative to the money that's been spent thus far
on habitat conservation and protection and all the expenditures of government, the Corps study
and so forth for a relative small amount of money.
We can look at the reproductive biology of fish as part of the puzzle
and solution that we are seeking and for a very minimum amount of money and perhaps a limited
amount of time and we'll hear testimony about that. I'm wondering if BPA would consider that as
you go through looking at the funding that you're involved thus far and funding that you're
intending to undertake in the future?
Mrs. JOHANSEN. We
will certainly consider that. The process that we go through is to work with the Northwest Power
Planning Council and the Independent Science Review Panel to sort through the hundreds of
projects that come our way. Certainly, we will commit to working with Dr. Skinner to make sure
Page 67 PREV PAGE TOP OF DOCthat his proposal is described as best it can be as it goes through that process.
Thank you very much. Senator Morton, Congress help established a fund that goes through the
Washington State Salmon Recovery Funding Board and I'm wondering, sir, whether in your
opinion this has been successful, what projects have been funded throughout the State that you
think are valuable?
Obviously, the money is valuable to some of the projects but not to all. I think a lot of the
projects have been what I would call minor significance as it pertains to habitat. We have habitat,
I believe, to a great degree in the tributary waters, for example, of the Columbia as well as and
particularly the Olympic Peninsula and for us to use that money in interior culverts, et cetera, I
think has been a true waste. Basically, that's my opinion on it, but we do have the need for the
moneys to be used in other areas of the State rather than deeply inland but more along the coastal
areas and the Columbia itself.
Thank you very much to all of you.
Mr. HASTINGS. I want
to followup on Mrs. Johansen. In your written testimony, at bottom of the first page and I'll read
it here and ask you to respond. In 1992 and 1994, when Pacific Northwest salmon and sturgeon
were listed as endangered species Bonneville's fish and wildlife program expenditures plus the
financial impacts of changes in hydro power system operations increased significantly going
Page 68 PREV PAGE TOP OF DOCfrom 150 million to over 400 million dollars a year. These are all, of course, ratepayer dollars.
There's no tax dollars. There's no tax dollars. These are all ratepayer dollars.
Could you break down that cost? I know a big portion of that is it
foregone revenues is the way to say it. Could you break that down and elaborate on that
Mrs. JOHANSEN. Let
me provide clarification. The 430 million dollars is a budgeted amount and as Congressman
Simpson pointed out, we have underspent under the MOA because we didn't anticipate expenses
due to a lower level of Congressional appropriations. But, of the 435 million dollars budgeted
amount that we have grown into, if you will, about 252 million dollars is associated with the
direct program that we fund for the Northwest Power Planning Council. You can break that 252
million dollars down into about 100 million dollars for the North West Power Planning Council's
direct Fish and Wildlife Program: about 40 million dollars for reimburseable expenses, and about
$112 million dollars for capital reimbursement for the Corps projects. That's the particular area
where the appropriations didn't come in as robustly as we anticipated.
The remainder, the roughly 183 million dollars remainder, is an
expected value of the operational costs that we incur either due to foregone revenues or increased
power costs to shift the water around in order to meet the fish migration as opposed to optimizing
So in any given year that balance, the amount above the 252 million,
could be 200, 300 million or it could be very small depending on the water or depending on the
market. So it does vary year by year, but on average we had planned for and had expected about
435 million dollars a year in total for all four cost categories under the current regime. Under our
Page 69 PREV PAGE TOP OF DOCnew rate case which is concluding, and unfortunately I'm in ex parte so I can't debate the merits
with you, but I can tell you that we are increasing the level of funding given the range of
uncertainty that we see in terms of what our fish and wildlife obligations will be. That expected
value will go from about 435 to about 720 million dollars per year.
Mr. HASTINGS. Same
percentage breakdown in the programs as you mentioned here that roughly 252 and the other in
foregone power would that ratio remain about the same?
Mrs. JOHANSEN. The
ratio remains about the same, but it's up, ratcheted up in each instance.
Mr. HASTINGS. Right.
Prior to the listing in 1992, that 252 million dollars that you were talking about, I assume those
programs existed prior to the listing of the salmon and the surgeon; is that correct?
Mrs. JOHANSEN. This
predates me, but prior to 1992, we were operating under a program, a much more modest North
West Power Planning Council Program. I believe that the annual program was more in the 40
million dollar range. I'll followup with specific numbers there. The operations of the hydro
system were significantly different than we face now. The operation of the hydro system as a
result of the listings in 1992 has really changed the priority from flood control and power, which
was the case before 1992. Now flood control and fish are the two top priorities. The operational
regime back then had far more modest impact on our lost revenues and our purchased power
Mr. HASTINGS. Let's
Page 70 PREV PAGE TOP OF DOCput it another way. If we were trying to compare apples and apples prior to this and again making
the broad assumption and that these arenot the foregone power cost, I'm just talking about the
252, what figure would equate to the 252 prior to the listings?
Mrs. JOHANSEN. I'll
have to get back to you on that. I believe it would probably be more in the neighborhood of
perhaps maybe less than 100 million.
Mr. HASTINGS. Less
than 100 million.
JOHANSEN. That would be my guess. I want to
followup with you on a specific breakdown.
The breakdown follows:
Mr. HASTINGS. OK,
but making the assumption that that's the case, 100 million prior to the listing of the species has
escalated or will escalate to over 500 million dollars that the ratepayers are principally paying,
there are some Federal direct appropriations; is that correct?
Mrs. JOHANSEN. I
believe if we held the ratio of the program expenditures to fore gone power revenues the same,
the top of your range would be about 418 million, and this is all ratepayers.
Page 71 PREV PAGE TOP OF DOC Mr. HASTINGS. It's all
ratepayers. So all the ratepayers here in the Northwest are paying this increased cost because of
Mrs. JOHANSEN. Yes.
Mr. HASTINGS. Thank
you very much.
CHENOWETH-HAGE. Mr. Simpson.
Mr. SIMPSON. Just
one quick question that came up and I don't know who to ask this to actually. I guess I'll ask it to
you to, Colonel, since in the middle. The debate started a little bit ago over whether historically
increased flows meant more returned salmon or less return salmon, and I guess the State of Idaho
has been given 427 acre feet and negotiated that and authorized it over the last several years to
increase flow augmentation. Any results of that? We did it as an experimental program to see if it
would increase the rate of return of salmon and flush salmon down the River. Have you seen the
results of that yet? Have you seen any benefit from that.
Colonel MOGREN. Let
me defer that to Mr. Arndt here, and I would also ask I believe there's a National Marine
Fisheries Service panel member coming up in the next panel and he may be in a better position to
CHENOWETH-HAGE. Mr. Arndt, would you stand
Page 72 PREV PAGE TOP OF DOCand be sworn, please? Do you promise and affirm under the penalty of perjury that you will tell
the truth, the whole truth and nothing but the truth?
Mr. ARNDT. As I
understand your question there have been a demonstrable result in.
CHENOWETH-HAGE. Mr. Arndt, I'm sorry to
interrupt you. Would you please introduce yourself for purposes of the recorder.
Mr. ARNDT. Thank
you, Madame Chairman. My name is Doug Arndt. I'm Chief of the Fish Management Division
for the Northwestern Division, Corps of Engineers. In response to your questions, sir, the data
are still coming in on that and as you have heard earlier from the panel there seems to be an
overriding impact of the ocean conditions that may influence that.
I have seen some data that would indicate that the flow regimes are
probably less significant for spring/summer Chinook returns and perhaps more significant for the
fall Chinook returns. This is captured in some recent information that National Marine Fisheries
Service has put out. So I assume that you'll hear more about that from Ric Illgenfritz, who is on
your next panel.
Mr. SIMPSON. Thank
CHENOWETH-HAGE. Thank you, Mr. Simpson.
Mr. Arndt, you may want to remain there. I have a question for you. If
you want to pull your chair around to the side, Mr. Arndt. I first have a question for Dr.
Dr. Anderson, can you give me the flows in cubic feet per second of
Page 73 PREV PAGE TOP OF DOCthe Columbia River, say, at the Dalles Dam and then maybe at Bonneville? What is the volume
Mr. ANDERSON. The
volume today, I'm not sure. If I could look up our web page, I'll give you exact numbers. I think
using from these tables right here, we have on the order of 150,000 in a low flow year to three,
four, 450,000 cubic feet per second in a high flow year. That would be at Bonneville Dam. Most
of the flows at the Dalles and Bonneville are similar.
CHENOWETH-HAGE. The 427,000 acre feet, how
would you calibrate that in comparison that Mr. Simpson has talked about that Idaho has issued
out each year for the last 8 years?
Mr. ANDERSON. The
flow that's coming out of Idaho and the flow augmentation, is that your question?
Mr. ANDERSON. The
relationship between the natural flows and the flow augmentation is tiny. The flow augmentation
from Idaho is very, very small. It might be 20 or 30 KCFS, where in the spring we might have
200 to 400 KCFS down through the river system. We have looked at the possible impacts to that
with our models and haven't be able to find any significant impacts of that flow augmentation.
CHENOWETH-HAGE. Very interesting. Colonel
Mogren, I would like to ask your biologist a question. Natural Marine Fisheries Service, Mr.
Arndt, is proposing to increase spill to 24 hours a day at all dams except the Dalles. Now, if the
Page 74 PREV PAGE TOP OF DOCbiological opinion didn't require spill and if the Northwest Power Planning Council did not
require spill would you as a biologist feel that voluntary spill would be justified to save the fish?
If the intent is to keep fish, migrating juvenile fish in the river system, then I personally believe
that spilling fish is better than putting them through a turbine. If one has the option of moving
fish most safely through the river system that doesn't include keeping them in the river, as you
heard in our earlier testimony, the current data coming from transport would indicate that it
would be better to transport those fish rather than keeping them in river by spill or by any other
CHENOWETH-HAGE. Tell me in your professional
opinion how you feel about barging? Does it does really work and why if it does or doesn't?
Mr. ARNDT. If you
look at the data on the returns of fish that have been transported versus those that have gone
through the river system, transport works. It returns significantly more fish than if you keep them
in the river. Does it work in the context of being a silver bullet and restoring the runs absent any
other type of action, it does not do that. It's one very important component of a much broader
action plan that would be required both in the hydro and outside any other so called issues.
CHENOWETH-HAGE. Thank you very much, Mr.
Page 75 PREV PAGE TOP OF DOCArndt. I wanted to ask Mr. Mantua, it's my understanding that the fish returned, the count so far
from pit tag count this year beginning March through April 20 is 70,331. Last year that compared
to 6,904. So we have an increase of almost 11 times the number of returns with the 10 year
average being 23,000, in excess of 23,000. As climatologist how do you account for such a
dramatic return this year as compared to last year when we view the climate and the affects on
the salmon with such a difference in just 1 year?
Mr. MANTUA. I believe
there is a great deal of evidence showing ocean conditions have improved markedly for many of
the stocks in the Northwest, that ocean survivals were dismal in the early 1990's. I think the
number is less than half of 1 percent for many of the runs in the Columbia River system and it's
not unheard of to have survivals 10 times that number, that could completely account for the
reserved increase in returns. In places where salmon stocks are in excellent shape and in
southeast Alaska the numbers as high as 30 percent for certain stocks. So it is entirely consistent
with vast improvement in ocean conditions and ocean habitat.
CHENOWETH-HAGE. Thank you very much. I just
want to close and thank you all. I want to thank Senator Morton for the film. I think that's very
dramatic and certainly left an impression on all of us. I agression from your testimony the
Oregon agencies killed 20,708 salmon in 1998, which could have yielded in excess of 48 million
eggs. Out of 1 percent return we could have seen an excess of 436,000 salmon adults returning
instead of what we are bragging about today at 70,000. So thank you for calling that to the
attention of the Committee. I know that you have to get back to the very exciting session, and I
thank you all for being here very much.
I do want to say to all if you but I wanted to mention to the Colonel,
Page 76 PREV PAGE TOP OF DOCwe will be sending further questions with regard to your draft and the impact of the White House
on this. So we also want to let you know the record remains open for 30 days. Should any of you
wish to add anything to your testimony, you are welcome to do so. We will be submitting
questions in addition to those asked in writing. The Committee will send them out right away
and we hope to have your response within 30 days.
Senator Morton and Dr. Mantua, I would appreciate your report to the
Committee on the USGS and Corps of Engineers stats that we saw and even all the vagaries that
could go into possibly a different conclusion. Would you be able to get it in within 30 days.
Mr. MANTUA. Yes.
CHENOWETH-HAGE. Thank you very much. I
want to thank these distinguished witnesses for their valuable testimony and with that these
witnesses are excused and I will call the second panel.
Come to order and please stand and be sworn. Do you promise and
affirm under penalty of perjury to tell the truth, the whole truth, and nothing but the truth, so help
PANEL. I do.
CHENOWETH-HAGE. I do want to say there are
certain Committee rules and this is an official Congressional Hearing, and Congress has gone to
great lengths to bring this hearing to this valley because there is an exceedingly important and
strongly impacting issue. The Chair is very disappointed, very unhappy with National Marine
Fisheries Service for just now bringing us their testimony. The Chair could exclude you from
testifying. This is ridiculous that you would bring at this hour your testimony with this enclosure.
Page 77 PREV PAGE TOP OF DOC The rules of the Committee are to have your testimony into the
Committee a number of days before the hearing, so we can all study your testimony so we can be
prepared. Now, this is the agency that has taken it upon themselves without necessarily
Congressional authority but with judge made of law to bade in the catbird seat on this whole
issue. I think it demonstrates to us your willingness or lack of willingness to work with Congress.
This document was issued April 7th. It was printed April 10th. You did have time to get it to the
Mr. Ilgenfritz, I will recognize you for your testimony but I will
recognize no one else from NFMS. You must be prepared to answer the questions from the
members, and I want to say on behalf of Chairman Don Young that I never want to see this
happen again. There must be more cooperation from your agency with the Congress. With that
the chair recognizes Mr. Bogert.
STATEMENT OF MICHAEL BOGERT, COUNSEL TO
GOVERNOR KEMPTHORNE, BOISE, IDAHO
Mr. BOGERT. Madame
Chair, distinguished members of the Committee, Representative Simpson, it's good to have a
little view of home here in Washington State and I'm pleased to be able to speak with you today.
My name is Michael Bogert. I am counsel to Idaho Governor, Dirk Kempthorne. I appreciate the
opportunity to appear before you today and articulate Governor Kempthorne's perspectives on
one of the most complex issues of the day, salmon recovery in the Pacific Northwest.
Prior to the time we took office in January 1999, the Kempthorne
administration has been preparing for the upcoming decisions to be made very soon by the
Federal agencies. We have been preparing for a very compelling reason.
Page 78 PREV PAGE TOP OF DOC Idaho stands to lose nothing short of everything in the aftermath of
salmon recovery debate and perhaps ironically we will lose everything with no recovery of the
salmon. With this perspective in mind, I would like to briefly describe to the Committee what we
see as our role in recovering the species and how we are willing to participate in this process.
Governor Kempthorne believes that only through a regional
collaborative effort will there ever be a chance for recovery of anadromous fish in Pacific
Northwest. Every State in the region in all of the stakeholders impacted by the process must step
forward and contribute.
No single State can recover the salmon scientifically. No single State
can solely afford to shoulder a disproportionate burden of this process. It will be only through
regional cooperation and not dictates by the Federal Government for there to be a chance to
achieve real success in this area.
The hearing today is about what can be done now in the near-term to
help the fish and I would like to briefly describe Governor Kempthorne's outlook on these issues.
The Committee has our full testimony, and we would like to have those submitted for the
In general, Governor Kempthorne believes that any effective program
to recover the species must be supported by science. It must be politically palatable and it must
be economically feasible.
We in Idaho begin our analysis of this approach slightly differently
than many members of the Committee have seen in the past. The Governor has decided to add a
fifth H to the equation. That H, of course, is humans.
From our vantage point much of our State's culture and economy are at
stake in the decision to be made by the Federal Government in the coming weeks. Accordingly,
Governor Kempthorne believes that no singular component of the salmon recovery burden
Page 79 PREV PAGE TOP OF DOCshould be born on the backs of any single stakeholder to the process, including the States.
Let me give you the most recent example of this problem, and as Dr.
Roby will describe, it is going on now as we speak. United States Army Corps of Engineers
recently estimated that over 640,000 listed individual salmon and tens of millions of hatchery
stock are eaten alive at the mouth of the Columbia River estuary during the spring migration
period. The culprits, the world's largest colony of voracious fish-eating Caspian terns, who just
happen to be nesting on Federally-created Rice Island at the time the young salmon are
attempting to make their way to sea.
Idaho, as did other stakeholders in this process, participated in a
collaboration involving the States, Federal agencies including the Corps and United States Fish
and Wildlife Service. This process resulted in a plan that involved providing alternative nesting
habitat for these birds which happen to be protected under the Federal Migratory Bird Treaty
The plan that was developed included a component that entailed
harassing these birds from the most critical of areas where the endangered fish are slaughtered.
Not surprisingly, a group of environmentalists brought lawsuit a few
weeks ago and claimed that the Corps had failed to comply with the National Environmental
Policy Act and asked that the harassment strategy be halted immediately.
Their key piece of evidence? Written comments by the Fish and
Wildlife Service that science had yet to prove that saving 640,000 listed individual species had
any proven benefit to salmon recovery. A Federal judge bought the argument and as we speak,
endangered fish are now being consumed by non-endangered birds and with the willing
assistance of the Fish and Wildlife Service.
Members of the Committee, we submit that this is a paradigm of
dysfunction. As a matter of fundamental science the State of Idaho likes its chances in a court of
Page 80 PREV PAGE TOP OF DOClaw that a fish eaten alive at the mouth of the Columbia estuary will not return to our State, but
our perspective is even more focused.
At the time the Fish and Wildlife is telling us that saving 640,000
listed individual fish will do nothing to recover these species, the Federal Government as we
speak is assessing how much Idaho water is needed to seemingly make fish migration easier. The
answer to this question in Idaho goes to the very life blood of our State's agricultural economy in
the upper Snake River Basin. Our reaction is how dare, how dare the Federal Government tell
Idaho and the world that the outright slaughter of hundreds of thousand of endangered young
salmon in the Columbia River estuary will have no impact on this problems and then in the same
breath tell us that more water from our State is needed to get these fish out to sea. We appreciate
the Committee's brief indulgence for the Governor's moment of righteous indignation,
notwithstanding the current position of fish and wildlife on predator control.
We shudder to think of what the Federal Government would do to the
unfortunate soul on a rafting trip who accidently floats his boat over a salmon spawning bed
during the height of the reproductive season.
Members of the Committee, you have the Governor's perspective on
this issue as it relates to our view on the regional collaborative process, and with that, Madame
Chair, I conclude my testimony.
[The prepared statement of Mr. Bogert follows:]
Page 81 PREV PAGE TOP OF DOC68012.079
CHENOWETH-HAGE. Thank you, Mr. Bogert. The
Chair recognizes Dr. Dan Roby for his testimony.
STATEMENT OF DR. DAN ROBY, ASSISTANT UNIT LEADER,
OREGON COOPERATIVE FISH AND WILDLIFE RESEARCH UNIT, OREGON STATE
UNIVERSITY, DEPARTMENT OF FISHERIES AND WILDLIFE, CORVALLIS, OREGON
Dr. ROBY. Good
afternoon, Madame Chair and members of the sub-committee. My name is Dan Roby and I am
Page 82 PREV PAGE TOP OF DOCtestifying regarding the issue of Caspian tern predation on juvenile salmonids in the Columbia
River estuary. I am an Associate Professor in the Department of Fisheries and Wildlife at Oregon
State University and the Assistant Unit Leader for the Oregon Cooperative Fish and Wildlife
Research Unit, which is part of the U.S. Geological Survey.
For the last 3 years I have been the Principal Investigator for a research
project entitled ''Avian Predation on Juvenile Salmonids in the lower Columbia River.'' this
project was initially funded jointly by the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers and the Bonneville
Power Administration but it is now funded solely by BPA.
The research has been carried out cooperatively by Columbia River
Inter-Tribal Fish Commission and Oregon State University. My colleagues and graduate
students; Ken Collis, David Craig, Don Lyons, Stephanie Adamany and Jessica Adkins deserve
much of the credit for this study. I am testifying today in my capacity as a research biologist with
no management authority or responsibility on this issue.
To briefly summarize our previous research results, we found that the
largest Caspian tern colony in the world resides on a dredge material disposal island in the
Columbia River estuary called Rice Island.
This breeding colony has grown substantially in the last decade and
has recently been the nesting site for over 16,000 terns. The nesting period of this species
generally coincides with the period of juvenile salmonid out-migration in the Columbia River
estuary. Our data indicated the Caspian terns were most reliant on juvenile salmonids as a food
source, amounting to about 75 percent of food items in 1997, 1998, and 1999.
We used a bioenergetics model to estimate the numbers of juvenile
salmonids consumed by the Rice Island Caspian tern colony in 1997 and 1998. In 1997, we
Page 83 PREV PAGE TOP OF DOCestimated between six and 25 million juvenile salmonids were consumed by Caspian terns, or
approximately six to 25 percent of the estimated 100 million out-migrating smolts that reached
the estuary. In 1998 the estimated number of juvenile salmon consumed by Rice Island Caspian
terns was seven to 15 million or approximately eight to 16 percent of the estimated 95 million
out-migrating smolts that reached the estuary in 1998.
Preliminary analysis of diet data from 1999 indicates that smolt
consumption by terns was similar to 1998.
The magnitude of Caspian tern predation on juvenile salmonids has
been cause for considerable surprise and concern. We think there are four observations that relate
to the current situation. First, the Columbia River estuary has experienced declines of forage fish
stocks that would, under other circumstances, provide alternative prey for fish-eating birds such
Second, most of the salmonids consumed by Caspian terns at the Rice
Island colony were raised in hatcheries, and the proportion of hatchery raised smolts in the diet
of terns exceeds what would be expected based on availability. This suggested hatchery-raised
smolts are especially vulnerable to tern predation and may attract foraging terns.
Third, juvenile salmonids that survive the out-migration to the estuary
must negotiate dams, slack water impoundments, and other obstacles in their efforts to reach the
sea. The cumulative stress associated with this migration likely enhances their vulnerability to
tern predation in the estuary.
Finally, the Caspian tern colony on Rice Island is one of only two known colonies of its
kind along the coast of Oregon and Washington, and Rice Island represents one of the few if not
Page 84 PREV PAGE TOP OF DOCthe only suitable nesting habitat for this species along the coast of the Pacific Northwest. This
exceptionally large breeding colony has coalesced at Rice Island because there are few other
options for Caspian terns searching for a colony site.
One of our research objectives for the 1999 field season was to test the
feasibility of using restoration of former Caspian tern colonies to reduce predation on smolts in
the Columbia River estuary. Specifically, we wanted to test the hypothesis that relocating the
tern colony on Rice Island to a previous colony site on East Sand Island would result in a
significant reduction in tern predation on juvenile salmonids. East Sand Island is about 13 miles
down river from Rice Island and five miles up river of the mouth of the Columbia River.
A greater diversity of forage fishes that are thought to be available to
fish-eating birds in the vicinity of East Sand Island compared to Rice Island. Attempts to attract
Caspian terns to nest at East Sand Island using habitat restoration, tern decoys, and audio
play-back systems were successful.
In 1999, 1,400 pairs of Caspian terns attempted to nest on East Sand
Island. Most importantly, Caspian terns that nested East Sand Island consumed only 44 percent
juvenile salmonids, which is 41 percent fewer salmonids than were consumed by terns nesting on
These research results suggested relocating the Caspian tern colony
from Rice Island to East Sand Island, near the mouth of the river is a feasible short-term
management option for reducing tern predation on juvenile salmonids.
This proposed management action has the potential to save two to
seven million smolts that have reached the estuary in 2000 and would have otherwise have been
consumed by terns. Longer term management may include attracting portions of the current Rice
Island Caspian tern population to nest outside the Columbia River estuary.
Page 85 PREV PAGE TOP OF DOC I'm out of time so I will skip to the take home message.
Management action focusing on tern predation in the estuary may be
an effective and efficient component of a comprehensive plan to restore salmon to the Columbia
River Basin. There is consensus support within the Interagency Caspian Tern Working Group to
pursue relocation of the tern colony in 2000. There is currently, however, as you've heard, a
temporary restraining order that prohibits hazing of Caspian terns attempting to nest at Rice
Island, and unless the TRO is lifted soon, Rice Island may again be the site of a large Caspian
tern colony in 2000.
The Working Group also is committed to restoring former Caspian tern
colonies at sites outside the Columbia River estuary, so that the very large population in the
Columbia River estuary can be redistributed over a number of smaller colonies throughout the
Pacific Northwest. However, funding for this management activity or for the continued
monitoring and evaluation of this problem has not been formally addressed.
Thank you, Madame Chair, for the opportunity to present this
[The prepared statement of Dr. Roby follows:]
Page 86 PREV PAGE TOP OF DOC Mrs.
CHENOWETH-HAGE. Thank you, Dr. Roby, and
the Chair recognizes Mr. Hagerty for his testimony.
STATEMENT OF DEAN HAGERTY, COMMISSIONER AND
PRESIDENT, PUBLIC UTILITY DISTRICT OF GRANT COUNTY, EPHRATA,
Mr. HAGERTY. My
name is Dean Hagerty and I'm appearing before you today as the Chairman of a five-member
elected commission for Grant County Public Utility District in Ephrata, Washington. I appreciate
this opportunity to address the Committee on what it and has been an important question in this
part of the United States; how do we preserve and protect the salmon runs in our rivers and
Grant County PUD is a publically owned utility which operates two
multi-purpose dams, Priest Rapids and Wannapum located in the mainstream of the Columbia
River. These facilities known as the Priest Rapids Project provide almost 100 billion kilowatts of
energy during an average year.
The health and abundance of salmon that inhabit the Columbia Basin
has long been a concern of Grant County PUD. Each year Grant County PUD and it customers
invest nearly 50 million dollars in salmon protection and enhancement. We operate successful
hatchery programs and hearing these other folks on the Rice Island thing, we know that our
hatchery program, a good portion of our smolt that go down there end up on the island because
the pit tags that we put in can be found on the island, and have initiated some of the most
innovative salmon production programs in the region.
Page 87 PREV PAGE TOP OF DOC We are particularly proud of the part we have played to keep the
population of fall and summer Chinook among the heathiest in the Columbia Basin and have had
great success using the collaborative approach to solving salmon problems. Their turnaround
began in late 80's through the cooperative efforts of all operators of the Mid-Columbia hydro
electric project, working in concert with concerned Federal and State agencies and Indian tribes.
This unique collaboration is known as the Vernita Bar Agreement and is widely recognized as a
model for others to follow, a chart of results of the Vernita Bar Agreement are before you here.
Congressman Hastings had an opportunity to visit our hatchery recently.
Recently, Grant County PUD led another collaborative effort to protect
the newly hatched fall chinook in the Hanford Reach from being stranded or dewatered in
shoreline pools when the river level fluctuates. Grant County PUD did not wait for someone else
to act or deny the problem, rather we assembled the Mid-Columbia operators, Federal and State
protection agencies, and Indian tribes to solve the problem. In all of Grant County PUD silent
production and enhancement efforts, a cardial rule has always reigned good credible science
must lead the way.
In contrast the debate surrounding the salmon-related issues on the
Snake River is contentious adversarial and adrift in poor and often conflicting science. Grant
County PUD does not support the breaching of the Snake River dams. This fragmentation has led
to polarized positions which have not advanced solutions for the salmon. We should be looking
for solutions that make sense, are economically acceptable and get results rather than entertaining
the ideas for experiments that are risky and premature, such as dam breaching.
As an elected official I encourage you and the region to work toward
solutions that balance the needs of our multiple purpose river system and make good use of our
resources, both financially and natural in the process. Do exactly what you are doing, look for
Page 88 PREV PAGE TOP OF DOCideas from the people in the region. Then work with them to make it happen. That's what makes
all of us good stewards of our natural resource. The northwest can save the salmon while
maintaining a healthy environment and strong economy, but we can only do that if salmon
recovery solutions are No. 1, reasonable, No. 2, balanced, and No. 3, fair, and No. 4 involve all
parties concerned and five and most importantly are grounded in good credible science. Thank
[The prepared statement of Mr. Hagerty follows:]
CHENOWETH-HAGE. Thank you, Mr. Hagerty. The
Chair recognizes Mr. Ilgenfritz and thank you very much.
STATEMENT OF RIC ILGENFRITZ, COLUMBIA BASIN
COORDINATOR, NATIONAL MARINE FISHERIES SERVICE, NOAA
Mr. ILGENFRITZ. I
would like to thank the Chair and the members of the Subcommittee. My name is Ric Ilgenfritz.
I'm the Columbia Basin Coordinator for the National Marine Fisheries Service, which essentially
means I am the program manager for trying to figure out how we implement the Endangered
Page 89 PREV PAGE TOP OF DOCSpecies Act throughout the Basin.
I would like to begin by apologizing and taking responsibility for the
situation in which the Committee finds itself with respect to the materials that we've submitted
for the record, and just add to that the Fisheries Service values its relationship with the
Committee. Our ability to do our job well depends on it. If we don't have it or if we are in danger
of losing it then it's on to us to do something about that. So I apologize for that situation. I'll
work with your staff to make sure you have what you need when you need it.
I have submitted written testimony for the record. In the interest of
brevity try to hit the high points and provide a little bit of information about the products that
we're developing and the environmental circumstances we find ourselves in right now which
these products will seek to address. Then I'll talk a little bit about the science that we've been
utilizing as part of that effort.
First and foremost, we are working to develop a new biological
opinion for Columbia River hydro system. We have working with the Army Corps of Engineers,
the Bonneville Power Administration, the Bureau of Reclamation, the Fish and Wildlife Service
and other Federal agencies to develop that document. The scope of that document will
encompass all 12 listed ESUs in the Basin. The jeopardy standard that we will use in that
document will be the same as the jeopardy standard that we utilized in 1995, which is to say the
actions we will be looking for should have a high likelihood survival and a moderate-to-high
likelihood of recovery of the affected species.
Our current schedule for finalizing and issuing that BO is to circulate a
Page 90 PREV PAGE TOP OF DOCdraft on or about May 22nd to the action agencies and the States and the tribes and go through a
period of technical review and try to finalize it and issue it by the first week of July. I will be
happy to answer any questions on that during the Q&A period, but I would like to turn briefly to
the All-H paper, which is the second product we are developing.
The All-H paper is essentially a conceptual recovery strategy designed
to look at all the human impacts across all the H's that affect these species.
We've utilized that approach for a couple of reasons; one, as a
coordinating mechanism for the Federal Government to try to get all nine agencies involved to
essentially speak with one voice and look at the data and issues through a single prism. We've
also tried to use it as a tool for engaging the public. We've had 15 public hearings at which
10,000 people attended. We took something like 1500 oral comments and about sixty thousand
We tried to use the document there both to engage and inform the
public about what the choices are, ranging from incremental improvements on the status quo to
moderate improvements to more aggressive improvements across all the life stages.
Our intent is to revise that document and issue it on the same
timeframe as the biological opinion so that it can provide the broader recovery context into
which the biological opinion will fit. So the hydro options we're seeking in the BO will be seen
in the context of what everybody else will be contributing to the solution.
Very briefly let me talk a little bit about the science we've been using.
Two primary tools we've used are called PATH and CRI. You've probably heard of them. PATH
is the Process for Analyzing and Testing Hypotheses. It was the basis of the draft biological
analysis we provided to the Corps for the Snake River EIS last spring.
Page 91 PREV PAGE TOP OF DOC The second tool we've been utilizing is the Cumulative Risk Initiative
which is a tool we developed at the beginning of last year partially in response to comments we
received on the PATH process and partially in response to determination that we needed to focus
more broadly than just the Snake River.
The latest analyses from the CRI process are in. I'll give you a very
brief summary of that and then move on. In general what it's showing us is that the stocks in the
upper Columbia and the upper Snake are the ones that are in the poorest shape. Steelhead more
or less throughout its range in the upper Columbia and Mid-Columbia and Snake River are also
in very poor shape.
Looking briefly at the numbers, we are calculating, 100-year extinction
risks for those stocks and in the interest of time I'll just skip over those. In addition to providing
the extinction risk estimates, CRI also gives us estimates of productivity improvements we need
to achieve in order to put all those stocks on a recovery pathway. That's very helpful to us when
we are sitting here trying to develop performance standards for the hydro system and every other
I'm going to stop there on the All-H and say a brief word about marine
mammal predation. We are conducting ongoing studies of marine mammal predation in the
Columbia River estuary. We have preliminary data that is giving us a sense of what the levels of
predation. We have been collecting data since 1995. We've analyzed data from 1995,'96,'97.
What it's showing us is a range of possible predation on adult returning populations of less than
percent up to about three or 4 percent.
The data aren't particularly useful as a management tool yet, because
we haven't refined our ability to determine what all that means. Our next steps there are to
Page 92 PREV PAGE TOP OF DOCanalyze our 1998 and 1999 data and take our research to the next step to improve our precision
and try interpret exactly what it means. Are they eating primarily hatchery fish, wild fish, what
So with that I will conclude. By way of conclusion, I want to introduce
the gentleman to my left, Dr. Phil Levin. He's from our Northwest Fisheries Science Center, and
he's a member of the CRI team. He is not here to provide testimony but if you want to draw on
his expertise as a member of the team then he will be available to the Committee to answer
questions. Thank you very much.
[The prepared statement of Mr. Ilgenfritz follows:]
Page 93 PREV PAGE TOP OF DOC
[The report ''A Standardized Quantitative Analysis of Risks Faced By Salmonids in the Columbia River Basin'' is retained in Committee files. This report is also referred to as the ''Cumulative Risk Initiative (CRI)''.]
Mrs. CHENOWETH-HAGE. Thank you. I want to remind
the members that there are certain Committee rules by which people can be authorized and
cleared to answer questions and was well as give testimony. The Chair has ruled that no
witnesses will be able to give answers except those that have been cleared by the Committee. So
we really wish we could have had a better leg up on this CRI, this document, and having been
able to study it but obviously we can't. So we will be asking questions only of the witnesses who
have been recognized and we will keep the record open for further questions from the Committee
on details of the CRI. So that with the Chair recognizes Mr. Simpson.
Mr. SIMPSON. Thank
you, Madame Chairman. Dr. Roby, first of all, you mentioned the temporary restraining order
that was imposed by the Federal judge on disturbing the terns out there. When would that have to
be lifted in order to do something this year, to be effective this year?
Dr. ROBY. It's
difficult to predict when the first egg will be laid on Rice Island. The U.S. Fish and Wildlife
Service previously issued a permit to the contractors the Corps has contracted with to haze terns
on the Rice Island tern colony to collect up to 300 Caspian tern eggs. So we are thinking that
when 300 eggs or more are laid on Rice Island we will be stuck with the colony breeding again
on Rice Island this year.
Page 94 PREV PAGE TOP OF DOC My best guess is that that would happen or that 300 eggs would be
deposited on Rice Island probably by the fourth or the fifth of May, so very soon. If the TRO
isn't lifted in the next few days I think the game has been lost.
Mr. SIMPSON. Mr.
Ilgenfritz, one question I asked the previous panel they suggested maybe you could have the
answer to, has there been any noticeable, let alone significant, increase in the condition of the
salmon with 427,000 acre feet that the State of Idaho has authorized over the last several years?
My basic response would be that Doug Arndt on the previous panel
correctly characterized the conclusions we have been able to draw, which is of more obvious
benefit for fall Chinook and a less obvious benefit for some of the earlier migrants. Our goal with
the flow augmentation program is to whatever we can to try to mimic the natural hydrograph,
what the fish would be seeing in the river were it running in its natural condition. That's sort of
the crux of our thinking in that regard.
Mr. SIMPSON. Thank
you. Mr. Bogert, appreciated your testimony and the frustration that I think the Governor and the
people of Idaho feel with what's going on. We have a Federally-protected fish and Federally-
protected terns that are eating these on a Federally made island and Idahoans are being asked to
make significant sacrifices in water and other things to flush more smolts down the river. It
doesn't seem like it's to increase salmon but more to make a deli for these terns down here that
we're not really doing anything about.
Congressman Simpson, that is I think succinctly the perspective that a lot of our stakeholders in
the State of Idaho, I know the Governor certainly feels that way and I think that's his point on
Page 95 PREV PAGE TOP OF DOCwhy from our perspective, and I know you share this, that we have the most to lose. We have our
water to lose, we have perhaps our habitat to lose, and there's discussions over our transportation
system and the lifeblood for many of Idahoans in the northern part of the State, and all of this at
stake with perhaps nothing at the end of the day to show for it. That's a correct assessment.
Mr. SIMPSON. Could
you tell me some of the other things. I know Idaho and the Governor are working very hard to
address other issues because we believe there's more than just dams at stake here. We are looking
at other things to try to improve salmon recovery habitat and so forth. Could talk about some of
things the State of Idaho is doing or potentially looking at doing in terms of improving the
habitat for salmon?
Mr. BOGERT. Yes,
thank you. Prior to the advent of the upcoming biological opinion the State has been assessing
issues, which from our view, have to occur; things like diversion screening. These are projects
that we are coordinating closely with the Northwest Power Council to try to receive, assess the
exposure there, and obtain money to try to help us and our help our stakeholders and agricultural
try to remedy, so that we move that particular component of the table.
For several years now the State has been looking at trying to improve
water quality in the north part of the State through a TMDL, total maximum daily load schedule
through our Department of Environmental Quality. These are things, which from our perspective,
have given us a running start we think on that which would be our fair share and our contribution
across all of the H's.
I might add on hydro power the Governor has been a strong proponent
of putting the best and the brightest that the Federal Government and the States have in terms of
Page 96 PREV PAGE TOP OF DOCtechnological advancements to simply make fish passage easier through the hydro system and he
believes that that is a worthy and warranted investment by the Federal Government and also by
the State to come contribute to that as well.
Mr. SIMPSON. The
Governor has mentioned several times the fish friendly turbines in the dams and the studies that
have been done on that, is that something that the Governor supports, increasing fish passage
past the dams?
Representative, he supported that as a United States Senator. We continue to support that and our
understanding is that some of the initial test runs that have been done with the new technology at
Bonneville Dam have showed improvement and significant improvement and should be
continued to be developed.
Mr. SIMPSON. Thank
CHENOWETH-HAGE. Mr. Hastings.
Mr. HASTINGS. Thank
you, Madame Chairman. I'll probably spend most of my questions with Mr. Ilgenfritz. First of
all, I want to wish you happy birthday. I understand it is your birthday. Perhaps the question
should be are you celebrating an anniversary of your birthday or are you still counting them.
Mr. ILGENFRITZ. I'm
still counting, but not for long.
Mr. HASTINGS. I'm
going to get off subject here because I haven't received a response from NMFS and this is the
Page 97 PREV PAGE TOP OF DOCfirst opportunity that I've had to followup. On March 24th, I wrote Will Stell a letter regarding
destruction of the Kingdome and what affect that would have on the fish because of the
proximity to Puget Sound.
The reason I wrote that letter is because on two occasions last year in
my district, once in Wenatchee and one in Richland, those cities were prohibited from putting up
a stoplight because they said that that activity could possibly hurt the fish in the Columbia River.
I found that a little hard to believe. So that prompted this letter because I suspected that the
implosion of the Kingdome could cause a bit more of activity than putting up a stoplight.
I have not received a response yet, I ask you to make sure a response is
forthcoming, but the only response that was printed in the paper was by an official at NMFS that
said something like, We didn't think there was any impact at all, so why bother looking at it?
Now, I found that rather hard to believe when they are not allowing
stoplights to be put up in an area that sees less than 10 inches of rain. So with that, what I would
like, Madame Chair, is to ask consent to have this letter be part of the record, and also when the
response comes from Mr. Stell to have that make part of the record.
[The information referred to follows:]
Page 98 PREV PAGE TOP OF DOC
Mr. HASTINGS. If you
would like to respond to that, Ric, I would be more than happy to hear your response.
Mr. ILGENFRITZ. Thank
you, and you've linked two issues that stand to be linked because they're similar and they
demonstrate the nature of our changed workload under the listings of the species under the
Endangered Species Act.
It's an utterly insane proposition that policy people at the National
Marine Fisheries Service ought to somehow sign off on every single traffic improvement, road
project, what have you, in the land as something that might impact salmon. If we had to do that
you could not hire enough people nor spend enough hours in the day cranking this stuff out in a
way that keeps the economy cooking along.
So part of our chore as we try to get our minds and our agency around
this task is to develop conservation initiatives that get us some efficiencies and how we're
clearing these projects, and how people are getting guidance from the agency on how to avoid
jeopardizing fish. That's a challenge that we take very seriously and something that we need to
Mr. HASTINGS. It
seems that one obvious solution to that is the statutes are so tight you should need some sort of
legislative relief on that. Would you be willing to pursue that?
Mr. ILGENFRITZ. That's
probably way above my pay grade, Congressman, although I understand the origins of the
question. The nature of the law is such that when local agencies and entities are engaging in
planning for transportation or any other projects, they look at them to see whether there's an
impact or likely impact on a listed species. If they're not sure or they don't know or they're not
Page 99 PREV PAGE TOP OF DOCqualified to determine, they just ship it to us or the Fish and Wildlife Service.
Mr. HASTINGS. The
Mr. ILGENFRITZ. The
vast majority of stuff we got from the Washington Department of Transportation last year would
have no impact, but they didn't know. So they sent it to us to look at and we ended up with a
huge pile of stuff to look at that we probably shouldn't have been looking at.
Mr. HASTINGS. But
you did look at the Kingdome?
Mr. ILGENFRITZ. I don't
know the situation there because I wasn't involved in it. My guess is that the county probably
didn't ask us to look at it.
Mr. HASTINGS. Let's
pursue that. If counties over here are at risk because they are afraid. Sometimes fear is a great
motivator, and if two cities were fearful of NMFS coming down on them because they didn't ask,
regarding a stoplight, and the fact that King County apparently didn't ask because there's no fear,
isn't that a bit of a double standard in how you're treating this?
Mr. ILGENFRITZ. Well,
a traffic improvement at a local level is essentially a transaction between the local authority and
the State Department of Transportation. The State Department of Transportation is going to
provide most of the funds. Most of those funds are Federal funds. Before the State signs off
they're going to look to us for an indication.
Page 100 PREV PAGE TOP OF DOC So most of those projects that we got, we didn't get from the local
governments here in the Tri-Cities and other communities. We got them from the State because
the State folks were not prepared to make the call that these projects do or do not jeopardize a
So what we need to do is find some efficiencies in how we clear these
Mr. HASTINGS. I see. I
want to get to another question. In previous testimony Colonel Mogren said that the Corps has
decided not to pursue, in fact, they suspended, any more study of John Day drawdown. We are
hearing indications that what would be coming out of your report potentially this summer is to
reactivate that. Is there any truth to that?
Mr. ILGENFRITZ. There
may be two different questions involved here with respect to the disposition of the John Day
Study. The question that study is trying to answer is basically can any more be learned by
studying it further? The subsequent question is should it or should it not be considered as a
management tool. The Corps study is answering the first question. Is there anything more we can
learn by studying this further and they're saying basically no, but that doesn't answer the second
question; should it or should it not be considered as a management tool. That standpoint, that
latter question is not yet answered.
Potentially this could be reopened then, albeit based maybe a different question but you could
open the question of drawing down once again the pool of John Day; is that correct?
Mr. ILGENFRITZ. I
wouldn't characterize an answer to a question that hasn't been answered yet. I'll try to answer
Page 101 PREV PAGE TOP OF DOCthat.
Mr. HASTINGS. Well,
put it another way, one Federal agency based on the best data that they have has concluded that
there is no more further study need. Another agency namely NMFS is saying, No, we think it
ought to be, I'll say reopened up again even though another agency based on sound data is
suggesting the opposite; is that correct?
Mr. ILGENFRITZ. We are
not necessarily taking issue with the Corps' conclusion that there is nothing further to be learned.
We've reviewed their conclusions and submitted some analysis for them, and there's not really
any disagreement between the two agencies on that question.
Mr. HASTINGS. My
time is up. Thanks for your consideration.
CHENOWETH-HAGE. Thank you, Mr. Hastings.
The Chair recognizes Mr. Nethercutt.
Thank you, Chairman, and welcome to all of the panelists and thank you for your testimony.
Mr. Ilgenfritz, with respect to the data used by the CRI, it's my
understanding the data used was for a 15-year period from 1980 to 1994; is that correct?
Mr. ILGENFRITZ. That's
Mr. NETHERCUTT. Yet
your testimony here today is that you're looking at doing an evaluation of extinction risks over
the next 100 years. Why in the world would you only look back 15 years to make a judgment
Page 102 PREV PAGE TOP OF DOCabout what's going to happen over the next 100 years? Please answer that if you can and as a
second followup, what about the returns that we're seeing now that are more vigorous? To what
extent are you taking into consideration those as you come to your conclusions and
Mr. ILGENFRITZ. I'll
give part of an answer to the second question first and then circle back to it. The data we looked
at was 1980 to 1994 brood years. We consider the adult returns up through the 1994 brood years.
That gives us 1995,'96,'97 returns, as well. So it's almost a 20-year period that we are looking at,
but the answer to your first question is twofold; one beginning in 1980, 1979 really was the first
year class that came back after the hydro system was in its current configuration. Based on how
it's configured now and how it's been operated, that's when the snapshot in time begins for adult
The second part of the answer is those particular years were really
tough years, in the ocean in particular, and what they help do is give you and everybody else an
idea of what the worst case scenarios are, given bad conditions, given all theses factors, what is
the scenario in which these species are most likely to go extinct and what is the likelihood that
that is going to happen.
Based on that testimony and also considering the extraordinary returns that we're seeing now,
which I assume you acknowledge exist.
Page 103 PREV PAGE TOP OF DOCAbsolutely.
Mr. NETHERCUTT. To
what extent will that influence your biological opinion and the conclusions that come from it?
Mr. ILGENFRITZ. To a
great extent. There is a debate going on about how conservative one needs to be when putting
together a biological opinion. The courts have tended to tell us that when we are uncertain about
data or conclusions based on data that we should resolve those conflicts in the favor of the listed
species. That guidance from the case law pushes us to being more conservative, but there is a
certain amount of discretion we have there.
The returns we have been seeing the last 2 years ar very heartening.
The year class we got back this year went out in 1996. It was the first year class to benefit fully
from the hydro operations we called for in the 1995 biological opinion. It's obvious that the news
is not all bad. There are some things we're doing that are generating some results. Obviously,
ocean conditions have a lot to say about that.
Mr. NETHERCUTT. With
respect to that, Dr. Anderson's testimony was compelling with respect to the shifting ocean
conditions and the impact that they have on returns. To what extent has National Marine
Fisheries Service expended resources and done studies of shifting ocean conditions as it relates to
Mr. ILGENFRITZ. We
have been and are begging to do more so and I think we need to factor that in.
Page 104 PREV PAGE TOP OF DOC Mr. NETHERCUTT. To
what extent have you done it so far; I take it minimally.
Mr. ILGENFRITZ. Within
the agency we have been relying on the work of others.
Mr. NETHERCUTT. To
what extent have you been relying on the work of others and to what cost can you quantify that?
How much money have you spent with respect to shifting ocean conditions as a part of this
Mr. ILGENFRITZ. In
terms of studying them?
Mr. NETHERCUTT. Yes,
Mr. ILGENFRITZ. I'd
have to answer that one for the record.
Mr. NETHERCUTT. I'd
appreciate it if you would. I also looked at your testimony with respect to the All-H paper and
looked at the statement here. You say in this option relative to the hydro system, the earthen
portions of each lower Snake dam would be removed over a period of seven to 8 years as
described by the Corps. That's page seven, first full paragraph. Would you not acknowledge, sir,
that assuming that this removal occurred and assuming that your seven to 8 year period is
correctand I don't know that that's exact number of years but assuming that it's truearen't we
looking at a period of at least seven or 8 years and then beyond that once there were a breach,
which none of us here that we know of approve? Aren't we looking at between eight and another
20 or 30 years before we even know if this action will be effective with respect to the return of
Page 105 PREV PAGE TOP OF DOCthese species of fish?
Mr. ILGENFRITZ. There
is no doubt that salmon recovery is a long-term proposition.
Mr. NETHERCUTT. I
know salmon recovery is a long-term proposition, but dam removal is going to extend, is it not,
any determination about whether the recovery efforts of dam removal are effective? We could be
looking 30 years before we even know if this experiment is a good one or bad one?
Mr. ILGENFRITZ. That's
Mr. NETHERCUTT. Is it
Mr. ILGENFRITZ. A lot
of years will have to pass before we know whether the results of the project are what we thought
they might be.
Mr. NETHERCUTT. I
assume you wouldn't disagree with anywhere from seven to eight period years of interruption in
the process of demolition and then another eight to 30 and would you agree with those numbers?
Mr. ILGENFRITZ. I'd
prefer to get a scientific opinion on that. I don't know how many years of data they'd want to look
at before they would be comfortable making a prediction.
Mr. NETHERCUTT. Are
you familiar with the L-Watt dam removal question and are you familiar with any testimony that
might have been forthcoming with respect to this issue of return of fish runs and the projected
data that would be conclusive or inclusive relative to the return projections?
Page 106 PREV PAGE TOP OF DOC Mr. ILGENFRITZ. Not
off the top of my head.
Mr. NETHERCUTT. My
understanding is that it's anywhere between eight and 30 years before we know if it would do any
good at all.
Mr. ILGENFRITZ. That's
not unreasonable, eight to 10 years is two generations.
CHENOWETH-HAGE. Thank Mr. Nethercutt. I'm
going to direct my questions at first to Mr. Bogert. Mr. Bogert, you'll need the microphone down
there. Mr. Bogert, did Idaho have a seat on the Caspian Tern Working Group?
Mr. BOGERT. Madame
Chairman, we did. We sent folks from the Idaho Department of Fish and Game and we have been
coordinating with them very closely on this issue. As Dr. Roby can attest we in Idaho argued
very strenuously for the most aggressive possible actions to be taken by the Working Group, but
the collaborative process required that everyone at the table perhaps compromise a little bit and
accordingly at the end of the day while we participated in the process we were not thoroughly
pleased with the final direction that was taken, but we nonetheless participated in good faith and
engaged in those discussions.
CHENOWETH-HAGE. What did the group decide?
Mr. BOGERT. At the
Page 107 PREV PAGE TOP OF DOCend of the day, we had advocated for a much stronger and more aggressive policy with respect to
the birds in the estuary in terms of evenOur assessment was that minimal space allowed on East
Sand Island would have been even more, that eventually the Group decided to put forward in
terms of its relocation strategy, was probably in order, if not a complete strategy that involved
perhaps no birds on either Rice or East Sand Island.
But that position, through the collaborative process eventually ended
up, and Dr. Roby can probably get into more detail, with a complete harassment with no terns on
Rice Island, which from our perspective at the end of the day is the most lethal of the nesting
sites for the terns, and then alternative nesting sites to accommodate the population that would
have otherwise nested on Rice Island be afforded on East Sand. I think that's a brief summary of
what as to the group at the end of the day decide to press forward with.
CHENOWETH-HAGE. Mr. Bogert, what has
happened with the lawsuit involving the terns? Can you give a brief description?
Mr. BOGERT. Madame
Chair, the latest on that is as of last week the State of Idaho participated as amicus curiae in the
lawsuit supporting the position of the Corps as to the adequacy of the harassment strategy. At the
end of the day this was what was enjoined and what we believed to be the most critical
component of the lawsuit, and I might add that we have received support from the State of
Washington and the State of Oregon who have joined us as amicus curiae supporting the position
of the working group with respect to harassment strategy on Rice Island.
Early last week it was decided by all parties of the case to stipulate to
Page 108 PREV PAGE TOP OF DOCpreliminary injection to provide an avenue and appropriate procedure to take this case on an
emergency basis to the Ninth Circuit, and as of late last week all of the papers were filed with the
Ninth Circuit, and as Dr. Roby testified, we await word any moment, perhaps by the end of this
week, as to what action, what we hope our enlightened judges in the Ninth Circuit to finally end
this insanity over this most confusing and baffling of lawsuits.
CHENOWETH-HAGE. Thank you, Mr. Bogert.
Mr. Ilgenfritz, I want to ask you, why does the Marine Mammal
Protection Act and the Migratory Bird Treaty Act seem to trump the Endangered Species Act,
when NMFS tells us the ESA trumps all laws, such as the National Forest Management Act, and
so forth. I'm baffled by this because Congress in the passage of ESA did not indicate that the
ESA would trump all laws, neither did Congress indicate that Marine Mammal Production Act
and the Migratory Bird Treat Act would remain at the top of the legal chain. So would you please
answer that for the record?
Mr. ILGENFRITZ. I'm not
aware of whether there is any case law on the Marine Mammal Protection Act and ESA going
head to head. My understanding of the claim that's currently before the Court is that it's
essentially a NEPA claim, that there's no EIS on the plan that the Corps is trying to implement.
I'm not aware directly of whether there's been a measure of MMPA
versus ESA in court. I can hopefully inform the Committee of the treatment of those statutes. We
did do a report to Congress last year on Marine Mammal Protection Act in which we made some
recommendations for the reauthorization that included giving us the authority to use lethal
removal where necessary and appropriate to control marine mammal predation on listed species.
My understanding is that those recommendations are pending before the Commerce Committee,
Page 109 PREV PAGE TOP OF DOCperhaps before the House Resources Committee, too. So it's a vague area of law to be sure and
we're trying to clarify it.
CHENOWETH-HAGE. Then under those
circumstances as described in your answer, why hasn't National Marine Fisheries Service ordered
removal of the terns?
Mr. ILGENFRITZ. We
participated as well in the Caspian Tern Working Group and we wholeheartedly have supported
the Corps' attempt to implement its project to harass the terns on the up river island. I checked
with our general counsel before I came in this morning and was informed that we are expecting a
decision from the Appeals Court tomorrow.
We joined the Justice Department in appealing the preliminary
injunction and our hope to that the Appeals Court will side with us so we can get moving.
CHENOWETH-HAGE. I want to expend my time to
ask a couple of more questions that may affect my State. I would like for you to describe or
define the terms, Federal Columbia River power system in the context of the biological opinion
by NMFS in the 1990's for the Endangered and Threatened Anadromous Fish Species in the
Pacific Northwest and then I would like for you to define which Federal facilities have been
included in the confines of that definition in those biological opinions; which Federal facilities
FCRPS is generally a term used to describe all Federal dams in the Columbia and Snake River
systems. That's what we think of. There is an ongoing dialog between my agency and some
Page 110 PREV PAGE TOP OF DOCagencies in the Department of Interior about whether that term extends to cover irrigation
facilities as part of the Columbia Basin project, the Yakima River project and so on and so forth.
My understanding is that that discussion is ongoing and as unresolved.
CHENOWETH-HAGE. So in the 1990's, actually the
dams included the Dorschak (phonics), Lower Granite, Little Goose, etc; right?
Mr. ILGENFRITZ. On the
Snake and Grand Coulee down and in the storage projects in Montana.
CHENOWETH-HAGE. All right, will you indicate
for the Committee the FCRPS definition in the National Marine Fisheries Service 2,000
biological opinion as to any additional Federal facilities that might be included?
Mr. ILGENFRITZ. It will
cover all the facilities as identified in the previous biological opinion and we are still discussing
with the Interior and the Bureau of Reclamation in particular whether it will cover irrigation
facilities more generally and really like which irrigation facilities are on the table for discussion.
The irrigation facilities generally tends to get tied up in the broader
discussion of water management. So I don't know that we have actually gotten to the point of
discussing specific facilities. Talking more generally we have to talk about specific facilities in
order to ensure that the water management regime agreed to in the BO is sufficient.
I don't have an answer for you because the discussion is still ongoing. I
Page 111 PREV PAGE TOP OF DOCthink it's something we should work on over the course of the next couple of months.
CHENOWETH-HAGE. I'm not happy with the
vagueness of your answer. Let's try this again. Obviously, when were you sitting down with your
staff and with people in Washington, obviously there are Federal facilities that are either
irrigation facilities or both irrigation and power producing facilities that are within the
parameters of discussion in the expansion of the FCRPS. Which areas are included and which
potential Federal facilities are included in those talks?
Mr. ILGENFRITZ. All of
the main stem, Columbia and Snake River dams in the United States including the Montana
Storage Projects. In addition to the main stem dams there is discussion of whether to include
irrigation facilities as well to the extent that return flows from irrigation facilities can affect
CHENOWETH-HAGE. In Idaho would that include
the entire Hell's Canyon complex plus the up river irrigation facilities like Milner and Black
Canyon Dam and so forth?
Mr. ILGENFRITZ. I think
those facilities are tied up in the discussions that are ongoing right now and I don't think there are
any conclusion to those discussions right now that I can report on.
CHENOWETH-HAGE. Can you tell what the legal
authority and justification for changing the CRPS definition to include these Federal facilities
Page 112 PREV PAGE TOP OF DOCare?
Mr. ILGENFRITZ. The
Endangered Species Act.
CHENOWETH-HAGE. All right. I've received word
that Mr. Hastings and Mr. Nethercutt would like a second round. So we'll begin the second round
with Mr. Nethercutt.
Mr. NETHERCUTT. Mr.
Bogert, I especially appreciate your being here on behalf of Governor Kempthorne. He's really
been a partner with our State trying to deal with this tern problem and you have, too. We have
appreciated that very much. The Interior Subcommittee of Appropriations is a Subcommittee on
which I serve and we have jurisdiction over the Fish and Wildlife Service and we're going to
have to do some funding with respect to the Caspian tern problem with the Fish and Wildlife
budget coming up for fiscal year 2001 here in the next month. So I would ask you, sir, or Dr.
Roby to what extent have you determined whether there would belet me go to Dr. Roby first
because it's a little more bird oriented.
To what extent have you, sir, looked at any negative impacts that
might occur to the birds themselves by moving them from Rice Island to East Sand Island or
some other location; is there any?
Dr. ROBY. We have
not a lot to base that on, but we do have last year when we attempted to attract a portion of the
Rice Island tern colony to nest on East Sand Island, using the techniques I described earlier, and
we were successful, as I said, at getting 1400 pairs to nest.
What was significant to us was that monitoring the nesting success of
Page 113 PREV PAGE TOP OF DOCthose 1400 pairs, we found that on average they raised 1.2 nestlings per nesting attempt. That
compares with last year at Rice Island where the same figure was .52. So less than half the
nesting success on Rice Island as on East Sand Island. Based on that and a number of other
factors our scientific conclusion was that it wouldn't constitute an inordinate amount of risk to
the Caspian tern colony for it to be a relocated from Rice Island to East Sand Island.
Mr. NETHERCUTT. So
have either you or Mr. Bogert anybody else on the panel done any analysis of the cost, the dollar
cost, of moving these Caspian tern populations from Rice Island to East Sand Island or to some
Dr. ROBY. That's a
tough one. I know about how much has been spent on research and monitoring related to this
issue because I know about the grants that have come to Oregon State University for that
purpose. I don't have a dollar figure for what the Corps of Engineers has spent. I know they've
spent a substantial amount in restoring the colony habitat on East Sand Island and in modifying
Rice Island to discourage nesting there.
Mr. NETHERCUTT. Mr.
Bogert, have you in your amicus brief done any analysis of the funding needs to complete the
transfer to the extent that it can be completed.
Representative Nethercutt, we have. The issue that's before the court is whether the harassment
strategy needed to cease while some of the subsidiary issues related to NEPA are worked out.
Our fear is that as each day goes by, the number of birds that go back to Rice Island, and indeed
think Dr. Roby can speak to, each day the birds are proliferating by leaps and bounds while the
restraining order remains in effect. In terms of the actual dollar cost, I can give you our
Page 114 PREV PAGE TOP OF DOCperception of what this means to our folks in Idaho perhaps in other ways than pure dollars, but
in terms of an actual figure we couldn't give that to you and it's not at issue per se in the case
Mr. NETHERCUTT. I
understand. Mr. Ilgenfritz, you are a part, you meaning the Natural Marine Fisheries Service, are
part of the Caspian Tern Working Group. Have you done any analysis with respect to this issue
of removing these terns to another location?
Mr. NETHERCUTT. Yes,
Mr. ILGENFRITZ. If we
have I am not aware of it. I can look into it and get an answer for the record for you.
Mr. NETHERCUTT. I
would assume that the Caspian Tern Working Group would be looking at not only methodology
but cost of the methodology. Am I in error with respect to the conclusion I've reached?
Mr. ILGENFRITZ. That is
correct. I wish our Corps witness was still here because they are the project lead on that and they
probably have more direct information about it. It's certainly an answer we should be able to get
for you in relatively short order.
Mr. NETHERCUTT. That
would be great. If you could provide that for the record I would appreciate it. One final question
Page 115 PREV PAGE TOP OF DOCbefore the red light goes on for me, I think the National Marine Fisheries Service ought to be
looking more thoughtfully at the idea that hatchery fish should be allowed to proceed along their
life course as we try to make sure that wild fish are preserved to the extent possible. Has the
National Marine Fisheries Service looked at initiating a selective harvest program with respect to
hatchery versus wild salmon?
Mr. ILGENFRITZ. Yes,
the short answer is yes. We are developing, as I said, the All-H paper and the basic premise of
that paper is that there is no silver bullet in salmon recovery. What is likely to get us there over a
long period of time is a collection of actions across all of the life stages. We need to do things to
address harvest, hatcheries, habitat, what have you.
Part of the harvest issue, the tools we have in the tool box are just that,
improving the selectively of the harvests, using time constraints, area constraints, gear
constraints so that you can ensure when were you prosecuting a fishery you are minimizing the
take of listed species. There are good tools in the tool box. Our challenge is to go out and try to
put them into the field. So we'll try to do that as we move forward.
Mr. NETHERCUTT. What
about the issue of mackerel that are more prevalent in warm waters that have had a predatory
effect on listed fish? Have you looked at that whole issue of ocean conditions as these new
migrating species in warm water conditions have an impact on species we are trying to protect?
Have you spent any money on that whole issue of mackerel; for example?
Page 116 PREV PAGE TOP OF DOC Mr. ILGENFRITZ.
Studying mackerel and what they do?
Mr. NETHERCUTT. Yes.
Mr. ILGENFRITZ. I am
not aware of it. That's another one of those that I'll have to get back to you on. I would hazard
guess that it's wrapped up in the broader analysis of what happens when ocean conditions
Mr. NETHERCUTT. Your
colleague is nodding yes and perhaps we can get an answer for the record, and that would be
grateful. Thank you, Madame Chairman.
CHENOWETH-HAGE. Mr. Simpson, you're
recognized for questions.
Mr. SIMPSON. Just
one question; you have read recently in the newspaper reports today that the opinion may come
out and suggest that over the next five to 10 years the dams in place, while other methods are
used to try to improve the fish and that we have performance standards to measure that
improvement along the way and that a decision on dams essentially be put off for five to 7 years
and the debate now is whether five or 10 years is the appropriate length of time; is that an
Mr. ILGENFRITZ. The
report is accurate.
Mr. SIMPSON. It was
mentioned by Congressman Nethercutt that potentially removing the dams, we probably wouldn't
Page 117 PREV PAGE TOP OF DOCsee any result from that for maybe 30 years. What kind of performance standards would you use
in determining if you remove the dams if it was recovering salmon in the next five to 10 years?
Mr. ILGENFRITZ. I'm
glad you asked that question because I've been wanting to talk about performance standards.
Performance standards are a tough nut to crack and as you imagine the sensitive point is where
you actually set the bar. As a measurement tool, a management tool, they are ideal in concept
because they provide a standard for people to shoot at, and they provide accountability.
In the hydro system the range we are looking at spans from basically
current survivals up to our best estimates of where natural survivals might be, expressed as a
composite of juvenile and adult survival through the system. If you use that measure during that
base period data that we were talking about earlier, survival through the hydro system was
probably 40 percent give or take 5 percent either way. Under the new bi-op that we have been
operating under the last 5 years, that's up to around 59 percent. Our best guess of natural survival
is that it's in the range of mid-70's to mid-80's.
The equivalent survival of breaching the four lower snake dams and
leaving the four lower dams in would be maybe 72 percent. So we're working with Bonneville
and Corps to try to put together a range so we can set that standard and be able to measure it.
Harvest is probably the easiest one to set because a fish that's caught is
a dead fish, and you can base performance standards on abundance and escapements. The two
really tough ones are habitat and hatcheries because habitat actions whether you're acquiring land
for new reserves or protecting reparian areas, screening diversions, in-stream flows and the like,
Page 118 PREV PAGE TOP OF DOCthose things take a long time to show themselves in the data. So our performance standards there
in the near-term are more likely to be action oriented. You know, did you screen your diversions,
did you provide passage where appropriate, are we taking steps, as Michael mentioned, to try to
get our TMDL's in place, in-stream flows and the like.
Hatchery, same story. It's very, very difficult to measure the impact of
hatchery fish on wild fish. What we need to do there is put together a set of experiments and set
our performance standards based upon what we learned. So there is a no silver bullet here, and if
we can do it, it will be a neat trick because it's a really difficult technical challenge.
Mr. SIMPSON. I
appreciate that and I appreciate the fact there is no silver bullet because one of the concerns I had
in reading this was that we set performance standards that we are supposed to meet between the
next five and 10 years and ultimately can't reach those potentially or don't reach those. So we go
to the extreme of removing dams when there are no performance standards and we won't know
the result of that for 30 years or beyond. I share that concern and I realize the difficulty of setting
those performance standards but they have to be reasonable performance standards.
Mr. ILGENFRITZ. I hear
you and our hope is to, just by way of followup, nail the performance standards for the hydro
system in this bi-op and make sure they're reviewed independently so that they are in place as
soon as possible.
Mr. SIMPSON. Thank
Page 119 PREV PAGE TOP OF DOCCHENOWETH-HAGE. Mr. Hastings, you're
Mr. HASTINGS. Thank
you, Madame Chairman.
Mr. Hagerty, I want to congratulate you for your testimony and
particularly your testimony regarding reembargement, which as your graph says here was put in
place well before there were any listings and it was an agreement that was brought together by
people that were concerned because there were declining salmon runs and so you got together
with all the people and said there must be a solution to this and you worked on that, and this
graph, at least from my perspective, certainly shows that that has been successful, and, Madame
Chair, if that has not be part of the permanent record, I would ask consent that that graph be
made part of the permanent record.
[The information referred to follows:]
Mr. HASTINGS. What I
would like to ask, though, Dean, as we go along the two facilities, you're going through the
process of relicensing, and I assuming that part of that process is to ensure that it is driven by the
Endangered Species Act to make sure that the fish passage, et cetera, is all involved there, and I
know that the conversations that you and I have had in the past, one of the big issues that you've
had to get through or work through in this process is the issue of super saturation. Could you
Page 120 PREV PAGE TOP OF DOCelaborate on that just a bit for me?
Mr. HAGERTY. This has
been a long, I have been on the Commission 18 years so I am familiar with the process since the
need for getting the fish down the river under the Endangered Species Act curtailed much of our
ability to produce less electricity, last year at Wannapum Dam, as an example, we spilled 19
percent of the river flow for fish. This year because we added flow deflectors to help decrease the
amount of nitrogen super saturation in the water, we are currently able to spill 38 percent. So in
one respect from Grant County standpoint by doing something good for the fish we again spill
more water, which takes generation away from the project. Just as an example, four fifths of our
load, the current load within Grant County is satisfied out of our own projects, Priest Rapids and
Wannapum, and let's assume that that costs one million dollars. The one fifth to make up the five
fifths of the load to satisfy our project costs us another million dollars. That fifth costs us as
much as four fifths because of the loss of generation.
Now, these projects provide power to parts of 11 western States, as
heard by my comment. There is a lot of power generated in these. So these are benefits that are
taken away from the whole area, but our prime concern is helping the fish down the river. That's
been our goal.
Mr. HASTINGS. So I
talked to Mrs. Johansen about the costs that BPA is putting into the mix as far as fish recovery.
That doesn't take into account any of your costs or any other Mid-Columbia PUD's.
Page 121 PREV PAGE TOP OF DOC Mr. HAGERTY. No, my
50 million figure that I gave you earlier in the testimony that includes our additional cost to go
out and buy power and we buy a lot from Bonneville. We're a preferred customer, preferential
customer of Bonneville, but as Bonneville costs go up our costs go up with it when we could be
supplying that at a much lower cost out of our own project, if we can figure out a way to get
these smolts down the river.
Mr. HASTINGS. Once
again, it's the ratepayer, your customers, because not all of your power goes to Grant County. It
goes throughout the Northwest. They're all paying this in addition to what BPA has added on?
Mr. HAGERTY. Right
now we figure that 23 cents out of every dollars that we charge ratepayers in Grant County goes
for fish, 23 cents out of every dollar.
Mr. HASTINGS. Thank
you. Mr. Ilgenfritz, I want to followup on a line of questioning that the Chairman was taking
about and that's regarding the irrigation. Obviously, I have a big interest in this because I have
the Columbia Basin Project wholly within my District. You said there are ongoing discussions.
Are you speaking directly to the irrigation districts hear within the Columbia Basin, either
singularly or collectively?
Mr. ILGENFRITZ. My
understanding is that the discussions that I referenced that are going on between our hydro power
division, which is based in Portland and the Bureau of Reclamation, and further that there have
been some meetings with State and tribal representatives present at which all of the stuff has
Page 122 PREV PAGE TOP OF DOCdiscussed as well.
Mr. HASTINGS. No
Mr. ILGENFRITZ. I'm not
Mr. HASTINGS. This
boggles my mind. We have 560,000 acres. There's three irrigation addition districts, and you're
talking about something that would impact them, obviously impact the economy, and at this
point you have not talked to any irrigation districts; is that right? Is that what you said?
Mr. ILGENFRITZ. I think
the question that we're trying to get at is what's the best way to give these projects ESA coverage,
to wrap them into ABO and get coverage that way with one document or whether to consult
individually on the operations of each small project that might be part of larger projects, like the
Columbia Basin Project.
Mr. HASTINGS. If you
have the short timeframe of the BO, which I understand is sometime in May and you haven't
even talked to them and we're less than a month away, I seem to be missing something here.
Mr. ILGENFRITZ. Well,
it's a source of concern to me that I can't give or the Chair a straight answer and I'm hopeful that
if the hearing record will be open for the next couple of weeks that we can get you a straighter
answer to that because I don't want to leave that hanging.
Mr. HASTINGS. One
Page 123 PREV PAGE TOP OF DOClast question, we heard the saga of Jack and Jill earlier, and to followup on what Congressman
Nethercutt was talking about, about ocean conditions and the way he postured the question was
how many dollars were being spent on that. I would like to posture the question a different way.
Since Jack and Jill apparently spend most of their lifetime in the ocean, how much emphasis in
your conclusions will be weighted on the ocean activity rather than the other activity?
Mr. ILGENFRITZ. I think
it will be weighted in a couple of different ways; one, the discussion we had earlier about the
base period data that we use and how conservative we are in that regard. We still have to make a
decision about what to assume the ocean is going to do. We can be real conservative and assume
that it's not going to do much to help the fish. It's going to stay bad or we could be real
optimistic, you know, like OMB in the old days that it's going to produce a heck of a lot of fish.
We have to make a determination. That's the first area.
The second area is ocean harvest. We try to regulate harvest from
Alaska through Canada on down Washington, Oregon, California through Pacific Salmon Treaty
and through the U.S. v Oregon process. So we will be factoring harvest
impacts in as far as analyses that take place in the ocean.
Mr. HASTINGS. Thank
CHENOWETH-HAGE. Thank you, Mr. Hastings. I
want to thank the witnesses for your testimony and I want to thank the members for their
questions. The members of the Committee will have additional questions and we will submit
them to writing. The record will remain open for sufficient time for you to return those. Usually,
Page 124 PREV PAGE TOP OF DOCthe record remains open for 10 working days for you to be able to alter or add to your testimony,
but the record will remain open longer so we may receive your answers to our questions.
So with that I do want to thank these witnesses for your excellent
testimony, and I will say that the hearing will be recessed at this point for 10 minutes for a break,
and then we will be back at work 10 minutes from now. Thank you very much.
CHENOWETH-HAGE. The Committee will come to
order and the Chair will recognize the last panel; Dr. Mike Skinner, Director, Center of
Reproductive Biology, Washington State University, Pullman, Washington; Mr. Don Swartz, the
Science and Policy Advisor, Northwest Sport Fishing Industries Association, Portland, Oregon,
Mr. Antone Minthorn, Chairman, Confederated Tribes of Umatilla Indian Reservation in
The chair notes also that the testimony from the Confederated Tribes
just arrived. Again I must say that the rules require that the testimony be in 48 hours in advance
of the hearing.
We will accept your oral testimony and we will appreciate your
standing for questions but in the future we would appreciate very much, with all due respect to
all of you, we appreciate the rules of the Committee being abided by. The rules of Congress are
certainly no different than the rules of the Court or any other body like this.
So with that, I wonder if the witnesses might stand and raise their arm
Do you promise and affirm under penalty of perjury to tell the truth,
Page 125 PREV PAGE TOP OF DOCthe whole truth and nothing but the truth so help you God?
The PANEL. I do.
CHENOWETH-HAGE. The chair recognizes Dr.
Mike Skinner for your testimony.
STATEMENT OF MICHAEL K. SKINNER, DIRECTOR, CENTER
OF REPRODUCTIVE BIOLOGY, WASHINGTON STATE UNIVERSITY, PULLMAN,
Dr. SKINNER. Thank
you, Committee, for the opportunity to testify. I'll start by clarifying a couple of things. Where
would like to start is this is a multifaceted factor problem. This is a problem of the biological
ecosystem and has a number of factors. As you heard a couple of people mention today, not one
single factor will solve the problem. It will take a multi-faceted approach with this issue. In the
past 3 years we've developed a multi-disciplinary approach with the University of Idaho and
Washington State University. For those of you that don't know, there is a lot of collaboration
between the two universities.
CHENOWETH-HAGE. I'm really sorry but the court
reporter is having difficulty understanding. You might take the mic out.
Dr. SKINNER. This
program involved both Universities as a multi-disciplinary program and I won't go through the
details because I gave it to you in my testimony. This program, to clarify, involves over 70
Page 126 PREV PAGE TOP OF DOCindependent faculty investigators, independent labs. Within the laboratories there's multiple
people. So we have two to 400 scientists involved in the restoration. I point that out because a lot
of people around don't realize that outside of the State and Federal agencies that the universities
are a significant resource on this issue and have simply not been rigorously approached. I'll come
back to that toward the end.
This program has three main components; habitat, economics and
biology. Clearly, you've heard a lot about habitat and I won't go through in detail. That is a
critical issue for the salmon. Economics, we feel is equally important because one of the major
industries in the Northwest is agricultural, and anything we can do regarding the salmon is going
to impact agricultural and it's important for us to understand that underlying exchange between
salmon restoration and agricultural.
The final thing is biology, and basically this is one area of science
which we do not feel has been rigorously addressed in the last couple of decades. There are a
number of facets of biology which have not been looked at including looking at the biology of
the fish, the diseased state of the fish. Simply counting the fish does not warrant the whole
Currently, the activities that are dictate by the State and Federal
agencies their primary focus is habitat. We agree that habitat is essential through the restoration
of salmon. However it is not scientifically sound to consider that is the only parameter that will
solve the issue. There are other parameters, too.
Page 127 PREV PAGE TOP OF DOC Twenty years ago when the Bald Eagle was in danger, there were a
number of things we could have done to protect the Bald Eagle. One of those was habitat. They
clearly had their habitat being encroached upon. Across the country we could have improved
eagle habitat to hopefully bring the eagles back. Instead what we did, we looked at the biology of
the eagle to determine what the central problem was and what we found was the eagle couldn't
reproduce. We figured out what the issue was, and the pesticides in the environment was
removed, the eagles returned.
We are in the same situation right now with the salmon. We could
have some great habitats throughout the northwest but if we don't really try to understand the
central problem we may not have any fish left, and we need to address this on a basic biological
level and it goes beyond counting the fish.
For example, if this habitat change is going to be put in place, which I
think is a very important thing to do, there needs to be some very critical biological performance
measures going beyond counting the fish. Looking at early development, the whole gambit in
terms a terms of biology. If we put those performance measures in place, which we can measure
immediately upon changing the habitats, we can get some immediate turn-around information,
but we don't need to wait two to 4 years for a return.
So we have this capacity at the University level to help focus State and
Federal agencies to do that. We see the program we're proposing as very complimentary. State
and Federal agencies have a very important task to apply scientific knowledge to the issue at
hand. So their applied approach to the problem is essential. However, the universities provide a
lot of basic research. We develop a state-of-the-art advances to understand this issue. We don't
have the ability to apply the information so we work with the State and Federal agencies to do
Page 128 PREV PAGE TOP OF DOCthat.
The State and Federal agencies don't have the resources, such numbers
of faculty to draw on. So we see this as a very complimentary thing that the universities still have
not been approached as a resource. Individuals have but not the overall universities. So that is
one of the issues.
My final message is this: There is a difference between applied and
basic research. Universities provide that basic research challenge. That's one of the main reasons
that we feel and we've approached a number of agencies over the past several years for this and
the criticism of our approach is basic research. We feel that is going to be need to provide that
technical advance to understand the basic problem.
[The prepared statement of Dr. Skinner follows:]
Page 129 PREV PAGE TOP OF DOC
CHENOWETH-HAGE. Thank you, Dr. Skinner, and
the Chair recognizes Mr. Swartz for his testimony.
STATEMENT OF DON SWARTZ, SCIENCE AND POLICY
ADVISOR, NORTHWEST SPORTFISHING INDUSTRIES ASSOCIATION, PORTLAND,
Mr. SWARTZ. Thank
you, Mrs. Chairperson and panel for inviting. I am Don Swartz, Science and Policy Director for
Northwest Sportfishing Industries Association. We thank your for the opportunity to present our
views at this important hearing on these important issues. These issues are critical to our
association and sport fishermen here in the Northwest.
Before becoming a member of this group, I was a fish biologist. I
worked for the State of Oregon for 31 and a half years, and I have been involved in Columbia
River fish management and hatchery research and so forth for the past 35 years.
During part of that time, 1991 to 1996, I was the Chairman of U.S.
Versus Oregon Technical Advisory Committee and served under the Nine Circuit Court on fish
management issues on the river.
Page 130 PREV PAGE TOP OF DOC Today I'm here to ask the House Committee to step back and take a
broader view of the situation we are in. It isn't just about this little valley here. It covers the
whole Northwest. We need to save jobs and the economic development and everything that's
gone on here we need to look at the whole region as well. We have other places in the region
here where we are suffering as a consequence of some of the things that are happening to our
salmon, and we have vacant cannery buildings up and down the coast, especially in Astoria. We
have private fishing boats sitting in the docks all up and down the coast. These are trollers, these
are charter boats, and what not. They are out of business essentially.
We have abandoned homes on the lower Columbia River that used to
home commercial fishermen. They have had to move to Alaska to stay alive or change
occupations, which means they had to move away from the river. There's a lot of things going
Our industry represents boat manufacturers, tackle manufacturers,
wholesalers, retailers, mom and pop groceries that sell tackle and bait. Guides, charter operations
that are still in business, there are a few of them. Down the list includes motels, hotels, resorts, et
cetera, and we have over 400 members here in the Northwest in the three States, and we
about 40,000 working family jobs. We've lost 10,000 of those jobs in this industry in the last 10
years since the listings started. It's not all, you know, attributable to the Snake river dams, but the
Snake River dams are one of the key issues in recovering salmon.
Page 131 PREV PAGE TOP OF DOC When we look at the Columbia Basin, historically they produced 10 to
16 million fish a year. These were all natural wild produced fish and their spawning grounds
went from British Columbia to Nevada or the Ewahee River that came out of Nevada.
Currently, the fish only have access to one half of what they formerly
could get to and in that one half 70 percent of them was in the Snake Basin. The remainder
portion of the available water shed is in those rivers where we have the biggest problems and
probably the least likely to recover natural production. In the Snake Basin we have 5200 miles of
good fish productive water and that ranges all the way from very poor degraded habitat to
pristine habitat. Of that 5200 we have roughly 1,000 miles still in the State of Idaho and State of
Oregon and parts of Washington and Tucannon system. We still have about 1,000 miles what we
could describe as pristine productive habitat. It simply doesn't have any fish in it.
Now, National Marine Fisheries Service embarked on a new study
called their critical risk analysis, and the PATH report earlier, which was a composite from all
scientists from all over the Northwest concluded that the Snake Basin the single most important
thing would be taking out the dams in order to restore the fish runs. The new process says maybe
we don't need to do that. We can do a vigorous job of habitat construction and harvest reductions
and change our hatcheries around so that things are will work better. If we have 1,000 miles of
pristine habitat where we never stock any hatchery fish and we look at our harvest rates on the
existing up river spring and summer Chinook and they have been at a low 10 percent, and this is
collectively for the ocean and in the river. They have been consistently below 10 percent since
1978 when we had our last fishery on those fish, how in the world are we going to make it so
much better that we can disregard the dams. It just doesn't work. There's something wrong in that
analysis. I believe there's some political science being played here.
Page 132 PREV PAGE TOP OF DOC What we are asking is that we step back and take a bigger look,
broader look. We are spending one billion dollars a year and we've made no progress whatsoever.
So far we're pouring this money into studies and bureaucracies and so forth that want to expand
on things. I'm running out of time anyway.
We think we should reinvest that money to the people and we need the
safe this economy up here and there is certainly enough money that we can do it in an overland
system. Barge transportation is only cheap if we disregard the Corps' contribution. The Corps'
budget for maintenance on the river, if we include that in the analysis, we find that barge
transportation is probably the most expensive in America. The Corps' budget isn't being included
in that analysis when we consider it cheap. It isn't. If we are not maintaining those dams, we have
lots of money to invest in the infrastructure to keep people up here working at home.
CHENOWETH-HAGE. Thank you, Mr. Swartz, and
the Chair recognizes Mr. Minthorn.
STATEMENT OF ANTONE MINTHORN, CHAIRMAN, BOARD
OF TRUSTEES, CONFEDERATED TRIBES OF THE UMATILLA INDIAN
RESERVATION, PORTLAND, OREGON
Mr. MINTHORN. Thank
you. My name is Antone Minthorn. I'm the Chairman of the Board of Trustees for the
Confederated Tribes of the Umatilla Indian Reservation in or near Pendleton, Oregon. Thank you
for the opportunity to be here today, and I appreciate your invitation to speak to the Committee,
and I also apologize for submitting the paper at a late date. It will not happen again.
You have a paper there that we submitted late, and I have a very short
Page 133 PREV PAGE TOP OF DOCstatement that will cover that very briefly. The Confederated Tribes were here when Lewis and
Clark came in 1805 and when the Oregon Trail came through in 1843. Our tribes are the Cayuse,
Umatilla and Walla Walla. This region is our home. The tribes held a treaty council with the U.S.
Government in 1855 in the Walla Walla Valley in Washington territory. Other tribes present
were the Yakama, Nez Perce and a few northern tribes.
At the Treaty Council the Confederated tribes gave over 60 million
acres to the U.S. Government. The ceded area is Southeastern Washington and Northeastern
Oregon, which includes the Columbia and Snake Rivers and tributary waters. Other millions of
acres were ceded by the Yakama and Nez Perce tribes.
The Confederated Tribes reserved certain rights ceded areas and a very
important right is to take fish at all streams running through and bordering the Reservation and at
all the usual accustomed places. Salmon have always been an important economic and cultural
right of our people who live in this country. We have always depended upon the salmon. That is
why we are here today.
As I recollect in the 1960's there were still salmon from the tributaries
in our Northeast Oregon ceded area. I used to catch them in Catherine (phonics) Creek, a
tributary of the Grande Ronde River in Oregon. I also fished at Celilo Falls in 1957, the last year
of the falls, but in the 1970's, the salmon runs were no longer there. There was always a concern
by people about the disappearance of the salmon, but nothing was done until the late 1980's.
The Columbia River Inter-Tribal Fish Commission was created in the
1970's and the Columbia River Inter-Tribal Fish Commission is a regional Indian fisheries
organization. The Confederated Tribes became involved with salmon issues in the mid-1980's
Page 134 PREV PAGE TOP OF DOCwith salmon restoration in the Umatilla River, where the runs became extinct due to irrigation
diversions in the early 1900's by the Bureau of Reclamation. The Tribe's approach was to
negotiate, cooperate, not to litigate. The project that I'm referring to is called the Umatilla Basin
Project and it has been successful in putting water and fish back into the river, and I think you are
probably familiar with that particular project.
In order for it to succeed, it took a high level of cooperation and
leadership to achieve it. The Confederated Tribes, the irrigators, Federal agencies, State agencies
all worked together to achieve that accomplishment and that victory. In the process of restoring
salmon water to the Umatilla River, the Tribe has the capability and the capacity to manage their
One year there were 10,000 salmon returning to the Umatilla River,
and salmon runs are beginning this year and we don't know how that will come out when the run
is over, but it has been successful.
The Tribe's concern over the declining salmon runs resulted in a Tribal
salmon policy. The policy is based upon the life cycle of the salmon. It is a comprehensive
approach which includes dam breaching. This policy has been approved by the Tribal people.
Another major plan document is Wy-Kan-Ush-Mi Wa-Kish-Wit, Spirit
of the Salmon. This plan is implemented by the Columbia River Inter-Tribal Fish Commission.
This plan takes a regional approach and works with subbasins. It's basic concept is gravel to
The concluding remarks that I have are that the Tribes have been
effective in restoring salmon again referring to the Umatilla Basin Project as an example. We
Page 135 PREV PAGE TOP OF DOChave built a capacity at the regional and local levels. We have scientists. We have successfully
worked with other sovereigns and jurisdictions both in Oregon and Washington State. We want
our voice heard in the river governance process, and we want the Federal Government to
continue to honor its Treaty and trust responsibilities. These are my very brief remarks to the
Committee here. And I just want to say that I think that we can succeed if we stay together.
That's all. Thank you.
[The prepared statement of Mr. Minthorn follows:]
Page 136 PREV PAGE TOP OF DOC
CHENOWETH-HAGE. Thank you, Mr. Minthorn.
The Chair will recognize members for their questions beginning with Mr. Hastings.
Mr. HASTINGS. Thank
you. Mr. Minthorn, you touched briefly on the successes you had with the returning runs on the
Umatilla River and according to your testimony you said those runs had been gone for some 70
years; is that correct?
Mr. MINTHORN. That's
Mr. HASTINGS. In case
I missed it, I was trying to read and listen at the same time, when did that project start to restore
these runs? How long has that been ongoing?
Mr. MINTHORN. The
project was authorized in 1988, and we began working at that timewe began to put salmon into
the river right then and there.
Mr. HASTINGS. These
Page 137 PREV PAGE TOP OF DOCwere hatchery fish?
Mr. MINTHORN. That's
Mr. HASTINGS. They
were hatchery fish. Do you consider returning runs still hatchery fish or do you consider them
wild fish, wild salmon?
Mr. MINTHORN. I think
that there are hatchery fish and there are wild fish. Those that are reintroduced into the lifecycle
and begin to thrive, then I would consider they are getting into that area of being wild.
Mr. HASTINGS. One
generation would probably be sufficient then or did you consider hatchery fish that left after you
made the initial effort, then when they came back the second generation would be wild salmon
from your perspective?
Mr. MINTHORN. From
my perspective, yes, and I'm not a biologist, but just from a Tribal member.
Mr. HASTINGS. No, I'm
not a biologist either. In that line of thinking, most of the discussions has been on saving wild
salmon runs. Does your Confederation take into consideration any distinction between wild runs
and salmon runs and would it make any difference to you if the returning fish were hatchery fish
or salmon? Does it make any difference to you as long as the fish are returned, to put it bluntly?
Mr. MINTHORN. It
makes a difference in that we use hatchery salmon to supplement the fishery, and if the wild fish
Page 138 PREV PAGE TOP OF DOCare there, we certainly want to get those wild fish back and to preserve and protect them.
Mr. HASTINGS. I
understand that. What you said a moment ago, the second generation would be wild fish from
Mr. MINTHORN. From
my perspective, yes.
Mr. HASTINGS. Right,
OK, good. You also mentioned in your testimony while most of the focus has been on dam
breaching, you have not really taken a hard fast position on that or did I read that incorrectly?
Mr. MINTHORN. Just
when I talked about the Umatilla Basin Project and that the approach we took there was to
negotiate not to litigate and to work, to begin to try to work these problems out with the
irrigators, which has been a very difficult process. In fact, we are still working on it yet, but the
Umatilla Basin Project will be completed May 20th. That's when we have the ceremony for that
in closing out that phase of the Umatilla Basin Project.
Mr. HASTINGS. I would
just say that the Umatilla Basin Project that you have been working on that has been successful
because you have returning run now. It appears to be consistent. The Vernita Bar Agreement,
which is another agreement that was primarily based on local initiative, to me that is a very good
model for looking ahead. I want to be one to congratulate you for keeping an open mind on this
because you heard by the testimony earlier today that there's some pretty hard feelings on both
sides of this issue?
Mr. MINTHORN. We
Page 139 PREV PAGE TOP OF DOCare open but, like I say, we have a salmon policy that was approved by our General Council,
which is Tribal membership and adopted by the governing body, but our salmon policy does look
at the salmon cycle in which all the problems and issues are, and dam breaching is on that cycle
amongst all the other problems that are there. So we tend to look at it more from what you might
call a holistic view.
Mr. HASTINGS. One
thing that struck me and what I have looked at, I want to ask you this and Mr. Swartz this
question too. NMFS has taken the notion or the initiative to list what I would say sub-species,
upper Columbia or lower Columbia and so forth. So taking that notion, it is interesting that there
is at least two runs of Sockeye. One spawns in Lake Wenatchee, I believe, and another spawns in
Lake Usoyoos (phonics) and those runs are remarkably consistent all the way throughout the
lifetime of the dams being on the river. In those days you had to go through nine dams, and yet
those returns have been remarkably consistent, which would indicate to me that there may be
something else in the biological mix that causes salmon runs not to come back. Do you have any
comment on that, either one of you?
Mr. SWARTZ. If we
look back about 20 years ago, the main body of Sockeye coming back to the Columbia River was
from the two ways that you're describing. We had about 200,000 a year coming back. In the more
recent years, it's more on the order of 30 to 50,000, considerably reduced. I think that's a
reflection of poor ocean conditions. And those runs we still consider healthy. They weren't
considered for listing and they are reproducing. They simply aren't at levels that we like to see
them where they're harvestable. We probably need at 30 to 50,000 a year virtually all of those
fish's farms. Given a better ocean condition they might come back up to a quarter of a million a
Page 140 PREV PAGE TOP OF DOC
The passage problems and so forth are quite a bit different between the
Snake and the main stem Columbia. The main stem Columbia is a much bigger river, and the
water temperature a lot cooler, and the Snake, we have all kinds of problems in the reservoirs
there with high temperatures and all the gas problems and everything else. It's just a different
Mr. HASTINGS. They
have a longer way to go from the mouth of the Snake River to where they can go a little farther.
Up Hell's Canyon is a lot shorter than where the mouth of the Snake River is.
Mr. MINTHORN. That's
not true. All the way up the Snake as far as the Salmon River and all the way up the Salmon
River clear to Head Water Lakes by Sun Valley. Each trip is just as far as going to British
Columbia on the mainstem Columbia.
Mr. HASTINGS. So the
length is essentially the same. Mr. Minthorn, you need to clarify something.
Mr. MINTHORN. I don't
have too much to comment on regarding Sockeye. I know that in the Umatilla there is a run of
steelhead that did not get wiped out by the irrigation diversions but was able to survive. So I just
mention that because I guess maybe some fish are better able to survive.
Mr. HASTINGS. One
last question, Mr. Swartz. We opened this hearing today with a video on the Oregon fish and
wildlife, I think clubbing hatchery fish. What is your response to that?
Mr. SWARTZ. Well,
we've always clubbed hatchery fish. Those videos that we saw were very typical of what is
Page 141 PREV PAGE TOP OF DOChappening on a spawning day in any hatchery. Those particular fish were Chinook, not Coho.
This issue became a national thing a couple of months ago because of the situation down in Fall
Creek, which is on the Central Oregon coast. We killed, the Department killed about 4,000 Coho
in 1998 that they decided they didn't want them to spawn in the river.
There are certainly places where our hatchery fish are very poorly
suited for natural production. That particular river fish is one of them. In the Snake Basin, the
hatchery programs that we've developed there and all of them are as a result of the Lower Snake
compensation program. That's only about 20 years old now. All of those were designed
We use wild stock or brood stock and then incorporate wild stock in
the brood stock every year. Those fish up there are only one generation removed from the wild
fish, and they are not killing or clubbing those fish in the Snake Basin, for example, that are
surplus. They leave them in the river and let them spawn. The policy of the Oregon Fish and
Wildlife is if the fish is not a good match for the natural fish in the river, then they reduce the
fitness if they commingle with them and we should remove them. The reason those fish down at
Fall Creek are not a good fit they come back and spawn in the month of October and the wild
fish spawn in December and January. We have evolved that fish over about 40 generations of
artificial culture and we started taking earlier and earlier fish so that we had a longer time period
to get them up to size, get them to the ocean, to be a very high survival and return rate on them.
They contributed very heavily to the troll fish throughout the Oregon Coast. That was the
principal purpose those fish were developed for. They fed a very large, a very productive troll
Page 142 PREV PAGE TOP OF DOCfishery and recreational fishery offshore. That fishery is gone now.
We're not supplying fish to anybody anymore. We're simply going
through a process where they're isolated from wild fish because of their time and life history and
leaving them in the stream to actually challenge and compete with the native fish is a bad idea.
Mother Nature designed the fish fit to habitat and spawn at an appropriate time. So young fish
come out of the gravel when there's food supply and water temperatures are coming up and
things are right. So the little fish will survive it well.
The hatchery fish submerge much too early in the wintertime.
Mr. HASTINGS. One
last question. Your brought up other fish. What about non-indigenous fish, like shad and walleye,
which compete for our food source, which has to have an effect, I would think, and also the
walleye probably is a predator, I would guess.
Mr. SWARTZ. It is.
Mr. HASTINGS. Is there
anything that we should be doing about that?
Mr. SWARTZ. We took
the bag limit off walleye and Washington wanted to make them a trophy fish and manage them
for special species. Oregon debated on whether we should do that or not, and for a while we
agreed with Washington and said, OK. All of the research show that walleye are a predator. It's
endangered fish that they are eating. Why offer them protection for restricted bag limits and so
forth. We opted to take the bag limits off.
Mr. HASTINGS. One
last question and thank you for your indulgence. Do you have any studies as to what or how
many salmon are displayed by the introduction of shad as a competitor or Wall Eye as a predator,
Page 143 PREV PAGE TOP OF DOCany studies?
Mr. SWARTZ. I
wouldn't say that they're displaced. They may compete for food as juvenile, but salmon typically
spawn in areas that are beyond the range of shad. Salmon steelhead go up the main roer and turn
into the tributaries and spawn in the head water area with the exception of Falchina (phonics).
Falchina do spawn in the main stem.
Shad spawn only in the main stem and the young of year migrate out
of the system within about 3 months.
Mr. HASTINGS. Isn't it
a threat to the salmon to be migrating out rather than coming back from the shad?
Mr. SWARTZ. I'm
sorry, I didn't understand.
Mr. HASTINGS. Isn't
the threat of the shad to the salmon in relation to when the salmon are smolts, rather than when
they are coming back? That's when they compete for food.
Mr. SWARTZ. Shad
aren't feeding. They're like salmon. When they come in to spawn that's all they've got on their
mind. They aren't feeding in the river. So adult shad is moving upstream and they are not
competing for food with the juvenile salmon that are moving down stream. Just like the adult
salmon coming upstream, they cease feeding when they leave the ocean.
Mr. HASTINGS. Thank
CHENOWETH-HAGE. Mr. Nethercutt is recognized
Page 144 PREV PAGE TOP OF DOC Mr. NETHERCUTT.
Thank you, Madame Chairman.
Mr. Swartz, you, sir have been a fish biologist for 31 and half years.
Mr. SWARTZ. With the
Oregon Department of Fish and Wildlife.
Mr. NETHERCUTT. I'm
Mr. SWARTZ. With the
Oregon Department of Fish and Wildlife; yes.
Mr. NETHERCUTT. And
you spent most of your life in Oregon?
Mr. SWARTZ. Yes.
Coastal location Portland?
Mr. SWARTZ. In
That's where you spent most of your time?
Mr. SWARTZ. Yes.
Mr. NETHERCUTT. And
you're here representing the Northwest Sportfishing Industries Association?
Mr. SWARTZ. That's
You're advocating for sportfishermen in connection with your testimony here today?
Page 145 PREV PAGE TOP OF DOC Mr. SWARTZ. That's
You've never lived inland, I take it, in farm economy or farm country?
Mr. SWARTZ. No.
Mr. NETHERCUTT. And
you're concerned, are you not, mostly about the economic consequences to the sportfishing
industry that you represent?
Mr. SWARTZ. That's
one of my concerns, yes. As a biologist I'm also concerned about resources.
Mr. NETHERCUTT. I
understand. I appreciate and respect that. However, sir, would you acknowledge that there would
be severe economic consequences to the agricultural economy of the interior of Washington,
Oregon and Idaho? Would you acknowledge that if the dams were breached?
Mr. SWARTZ. If they
were breached and there were no mitigating actions; yes.
Mr. NETHERCUTT. All
right, and you also acknowledge, I assume, or accept the testimony today that it would take seven
or 8 years, as testified by the National Marine Fisheries Service to remove those dams,
deconstruct them; is that correct?
Mr. SWARTZ. The
Corps has told us repeatedly it would take them about 10 years to work up a design to get the
operations in place. None of the dams will be gone for at least 10 years from the time the
decision is made to take them out.
Page 146 PREV PAGE TOP OF DOCDuring the deconstruction period, there's also a period of time that there would be interruption on
our river systems on the Snake and Columbia, assuming there would be deconstruction of the
Columbia at some point; correct?
Mr. SWARTZ. Yes.
Mr. NETHERCUTT. What
is your calculation as to what would happen to fish populations in their ability to return up the
river system during that deconstruction period of time, be it five or six or seven or 8 years?
Would it be a negative?
Mr. SWARTZ. It
Mr. NETHERCUTT. And
that's a life cycle of a fish, some fish in this discussion; right?
Mr. SWARTZ. At any
one location I don't think the interruption would be that long, but certainly we would look at
some mechanism for transporting fish around or whatever transpired.
Mr. NETHERCUTT. I
understand. I assume with respect to the economic loss, you would also acknowledge that if the
dams are breached over this seven or six or 10 year period, whatever that might end up being,
there would be a severe economic consequence to the agricultural industry?
Mr. SWARTZ. We are
looking at the likelihood that it's going to take 10 years, and I think that we need to start looking
at how do we deal with, once the dams are gone or even the deconstruction time period, how do
we serve people that are dependent on water from the dams or transportation and so forth and
Page 147 PREV PAGE TOP OF DOCdeal with those things before we pull the plug.
Mr. NETHERCUTT. I
understand and also you acknowledge, I assume, that based on the testimony there is here today
and based on your experience as a fish biologist with the State of Oregon that we wouldn't know
whether there would be any positive benefits as a result of dam breaching from anywhere from
eight to 30 years; do you acknowledge that?
Mr. SWARTZ. No, I
think that the current situation is the survival rate of smolts leaving the Snake River albeit
whether they come down the river or whether they come down on a barge is considerably less
than that from all of the fish from Hanford Reach on down the river. We are getting such low
survival on the Snake River fish that the decline rate on them is very severe, and I think a lot of
the other fish that are being looked at by NMFS and listed and so forth, we are going to see a
recovery fairly quickly with better ocean conditions and so forth.
I don't think a better ocean is going to stop the decline on the Snake.
Mr. NETHERCUTT. How
would you suggest that we get better ocean conditions? How can we manipulate temperature?
Mr. SWARTZ. We can't.
Mr. NETHERCUTT. OK,
that's a serious part of this issue.
Mr. SWARTZ. That's a
problem that's been going on for centuries, as long as salmon have been here.
Mr. NETHERCUTT. Yes,
sir, can't control that?
Page 148 PREV PAGE TOP OF DOC Mr. SWARTZ. No.
Mr. NETHERCUTT. But
that's a significant part of this problem?
Mr. SWARTZ. It
contributes to it. I'm not going to say it's the whole problem.
Mr. NETHERCUTT. Is it
Mr. NETHERCUTT. Dr.
Skinner, I wonder if you, sir, could advise the Committee whether you have done or any of your
colleagues in the university system that you know of have done any research to determine the
difference genetically between wild and hatchery fish?
Mr. SKINNER. The
principle of that out has been shown if you take a trout from one river to another river, there is an
adaptation by a specific genetic strain, such as they are different between river. It's presumed to
be similar to the salmon. It's not been aggressively looked at at this point.
It is demonstrated stone trout when transferred cannot survive. So
clearly it demonstrates that there is a genetic difference between the different strains in the rivers.
Mr. NETHERCUTT. Are
you aware of any genetic studies on salmon by Federal or non-Federal sources?
Mr. SKINNER. Right
Page 149 PREV PAGE TOP OF DOCnow the primary push on the Federal side is the trout. Salmon has not been looked at. There has
been a very little bit of mapping but it's not an extensive level right now.
Mr. NETHERCUTT. Has
the research that you've done, the basic research that your university and others may have done
been utilized in any respect that you know of by Federal agencies.
Mr. SKINNER. Our
university, no. NMFS is doing some with Federal funds. We generally at the university level
work on a more shoe string operation. Sometimes we get State funding and so forth but we don't
have Federal money.
Mr. NETHERCUTT. Let
me ask you, how much money would you recommend be allocated to basic fish reproduction,
biological reproduction research and over what period of time and when could you provide some
positive information based on the estimate that you can come up with today that would be of
assistance to the National Marine Fisheries Service, this Committee, and Congress and
everybody who cares deeply about trying to figure out this problem solving?
Mr. SKINNER. It would
take about six million a year and in 5 years we would have results. In other words, we already
have information coming out on the genetics that suggest.
Mr. NETHERCUTT. I'm
having trouble hearing. Are you having trouble hearing?
Mr. SKINNER. What
we are proposing is a six million dollars program for 5 years. That would be an extended
program to look at the bases for habitat to biology relationships that we are looking at. We
already have some basic information to suggest that there are some basic biological problems on
the genetic set and reproduction level that we are just now starting to scratch the surface on much
Page 150 PREV PAGE TOP OF DOCbeyond the things we've talked about today. We think there are some basic problems with these
fish even though they look perfectly normal. They may not be perfectly normal in reproduction
Mr. NETHERCUTT. How
fast would be you be in a position to provide a report to the Congress or the National Marine
Fisheries Service or Fish and Wildlife?
Mr. SKINNER. On the
research going forward probably within two to 3 years. We basically say this is what the basic
problem is and the University could not apply the solutions. The State and Federal could apply.
CHENOWETH-HAGE. Do you have anything
Mr. Nethercutt, any further questions?
Mr. NETHERCUTT. Just
one final question; I don't mean to badger you here, Mr. Swartz. I am wondering, sir, if the
Northwest Sportfishing Association has insisted on participating in discussions with Washington
State or Idaho or Oregon with respect to ideas you have for improving salmon populations
similar to the State timber, fish and wildlife program or the ongoing agriculture fish and wildlife
program; are you familiar with those programs?
Mr. SWARTZ. No, I'm
Page 151 PREV PAGE TOP OF DOC Mr. NETHERCUTT. OK,
would you be willing to participate in continuous discussions with relative interest with regard to
this problem with agriculture, timber and so forth to try to solve this problem?
Mr. SWARTZ. Yes, we
routinely volunteer that kind of participation. We want to be heard and we want to be recognized
as an industry. Just last week Senator Smith referred to our concerns as, we can't handle it. What
do you account for? Well, we generate about three billion dollars worth of economic output here
in the northwest region and we feel that it's a little bit more than just weekend angling.
Mr. NETHERCUTT. I
understand and I acknowledge it's more than that as well. It's a valuable resource. You have to try
to keep it, but it's the big picture we ought to try to solve.
Mr. SWARTZ. We agree
Mr. NETHERCUTT. All
right, sir. Thank you to all the panel.
CHENOWETH-HAGE. Thank you, Mr. Nethercutt. I
want to thank the witnesses for testifying and the members for their questions. The members of
the Committee may have additional questions for the witnesses and we will ask you to respond to
these questions in writing within 30 days.
The hearing records will be held open for the witnesses for 10 working
days should you wish to add anything to your testimony.
Page 152 PREV PAGE TOP OF DOC I do want to say that this has been a most interesting hearing. The
impact of this issue is reverberating around the world. Not only do we see national and
international news organization focusing on our working river, the Columbia River system and
the Snake River, but we're also seeing organizations and businesses that are not only national in
scope but international in scope. If we are to be intellectually honest I think we need to begin to
ask ourselves, why does the government want complete control of not only the operation of the
river but of our ability to produce a living in the Northwest?
As I evaluate what's happening and the impact for those to have the
ability to communicate nationally and worldwide and as I look hopefully into the future I hope
that we will return to solid scientific data to make our decisions on. I hope in the near future that
we will be able as a nation, as a government, as a Congress to give very clear direction to the
agencies in which to operate.
I hope in the near future that we will be rid of this situation we are now
involved in where agencies on their own can move the goal posts as we witnessed today in the
moving of the impact of the FCRPS, the Columbia River system, not only from the dams on the
Columbia but also impacting systems moving clear into Montana and Idaho. This continual
moving of the goal posts will create utter confusion. It will be very costly and probably serve not
to bring one additional fish back up to their traditional spawning grounds.
I think it's becoming increasingly clear to us that the fish is a surrogate
for something else, and I have a couple of very interesting quotes I would like to close with. One
Page 153 PREV PAGE TOP OF DOCis fromActually, one is from the Tri-City Herald and one is from the Lewiston Tribune, a quote
on December 18, 1999, and this quote is by Will Stell, National Marine Fisheries Service
Regional Director, when he said, ''The best thing for fish would be to end all riparian
development, take out the dams and move east.''
And then a quote from Ann Bagley, who is the Pacific Region Director
for the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service, who is quoted also in the Lewiston Tribune, December
18, 1999. The bottom line, she said, ''Bottom line biological conclusion is a no brainer. For
native species it's a free flowing river, not a dammed river.''
Then with a situation that's going on right here in Mr. Hastings District
in Methow Valley, Mike Grady, from National Marine Fisheries Service, was quoted December
8, 1999, in an issue of the Wall Street Journal as saying, ''Endangered Species Act gives us the
right to set target flows. We are blind to State and local laws. We are blind and local laws. All we
care about is getting that block of water to the fish.''
We are standing on the very edge of viewing our agencies in a state of
total disregard for the rules of law, and that's very alarming to those us that sit on this panel as
well as the entire Congress. The alarm should extend beyond any party boundaries but should be
shared by all of us, because only when we all operate under the same rule can there be order and
can people live together peacefully without one group of people imposing by force their will on
This is our first responsibility is to keep the peace, and I know that we
Page 154 PREV PAGE TOP OF DOCare committed to do that. Part of keeping the peace and making sure that we have the right
information with which to make our decisions are these hearings, and I want to extend my
personal thanks to Chairman Don Young, who is in Alaska right now and to Chairman John
Doolittle. I want to the thank the staff for their excellent work in preparation and work through
these committees, and I want to thank Congressman Hastings and Congressman Nethercutt for
inviting us into Washington.
So with that I will say again that the record will remain open. We will
look forward to the receipt of your answers, and if there is no further business this hearing is
[Whereupon, the Committee was adjourned.]