Save Our Wild Salmon press release: Science panel’s review provides pathway to expanded spill test


For Immediate Release

Feb. 23, 2014

Contact: Gilly Lyons, Save Our Wild Salmon: (503) 975-3202


Science panel’s review provides pathway to expanded spill test

 Salmon advocates embrace call for putting experiment on ‘rock-solid’ foundation

On Friday, the Independent Scientific Advisory Board of the Northwest Power and Conservation Council released its review of Oregon’s proposal to test state, federal and Tribal scientists’ findings that increased spring spill over Columbia Basin hydropower dams would help restore endangered Columbia-Snake river salmon stocks.

Oregon’s proposal is strongly supported by conservation and fishing groups, the Nez Perce Tribe, and the Pacific Fishery Management Council. The Northwest Power and Conservation Council sought the ISAB review to inform development of its 2014 Fish and Wildlife Program.

The ISAB concludes that testing the proposed spill experiment’s hypothesis has merit and “offers an opportunity to use adaptive management that might improve [survival] of threatened and endangered salmon…and increase knowledge for future decisions.” The reviewers also identify several outstanding issues and questions for strengthening the spill test, and encourage the development of a more detailed proposal addressing those concerns.

Here is a statement on the ISAB review from Save Our Wild Salmon Coalition executive director Joseph Bogaard:

“This review is an important step in the Northwest’s ongoing conversation about the future of our efforts to restore Columbia Basin salmon and steelhead. We appreciate the ISAB’s thoughtful attention to this issue, and know that the review will be of value to the Council as it continues to develop its Fish and Wildlife Program amendments for 2014.

“The ISAB’s broad and long-standing recognition of spill’s role in boosting salmon survival is echoed in today’s review, as is its interest in ensuring that the Council’s program rests on a rock-solid scientific foundation. We are pleased the ISAB has determined that a spill experiment has merit, that it is likely to enhance our knowledge of spill and its effects on salmon survival, and that it is consistent with the need for and role of adaptive management. We believe answering key questions raised by the reviewers, where robust responses do not already exist, will strengthen the test design. One thing we know for sure – as the ISAB points out – is that salmon need more help now in order to reach the survival levels that will ultimately lead to their recovery; spill is a proven way of providing that help.

“We trust the Council’s next steps will include working with Comparative Survival Study (CSS) scientists to seek responses to the ISAB’s questions as quickly as possible, such that a spill experiment can be considered as part of the 2014 Fish and Wildlife Program. Specifically, we agree with the ISAB that the CSS Oversight Committee should move forward with developing a more detailed study design, per the review’s recommendations. Doing so will continue to illuminate our shared understanding of spill and its tremendous potential for the Northwest, and lead to a spill experiment that expands our knowledge of what’s needed to recover our invaluable salmon runs.”

Contact: Gilly Lyons, Save Our Wild Salmon: (503) 975-3202