Settlement agreement signed on Washington's Lewis River

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A comprehensive settlement has been reached (hurrah!) on the Lewis River projects in Washington. The settlement will allow for improved and restored flows, and sets fish passage triggers that may open up as much as 174 miles of new habitat. Read PacifiCorp's press release, or read on for the lead conservation group's statement on the settlement. Other signing organizations include Trout Unlimited and Native Fish Society.Statement by Rob Masonis, Northwest regional director of American Rivers, on the Lewis River hydro-licensing agreementNovember 30, 2004Today' s agreement shows that hydropower dams can be improved to benefit healthy rivers and the quality of life in a basin' s communities.It proves that diverse interests -- utilities, native tribes, federal and state resource agencies, counties and conservation groups -- can come together in the dam relicensing process and arrive at positive solutions that work for people, fish and wildlife, and healthy rivers.We applaud the agreement' s strong measures that provide over $5 million for habitat restoration, and that will allow fish renewed access to 174 miles of habitat. Restoring and opening habitat is critical to the recovery of listed Columbia River stocks. The parties will play an ongoing, collaborative role in guiding implementation of the agreement. American Rivers will help ensure that the river restoration and salmon recovery measures are informed by the best science and are implemented effectively. Now that PacifiCorp and Cowlitz PUD have pledged to do their parts to ensure the vitality of the Lewis River into the future, the Clark County Council should do its part – by stopping harmful gravel mining on the East Fork and passing a strong Critical Areas Ordinance package in early 2005.This agreement provides a long-term vision for the health of the Lewis River. We urge Clark County to use similar long-term, watershed-based thinking when making decisions that will impact the clean water, fish and wildlife, and quality of life for generations to come.