From: Paul Schaefer, ENN
Published August 14, 2007 08:39 PM

Nevada Rep. Berkley Adds Support to Salmon Protection Bill

LAS VEGAS, NV. - Nevada Congressman Shelley Berkley (D-NV) is lending support to proposed new legislation tackling one of the West's most urgent fiscal and environmental crises: failing federal salmon recovery efforts in the Columbia-Snake River basin.


The proposed new law seeks to restore sound science and fiscal responsibility to faltering federal salmon restoration efforts by authorizing independent economic and scientific review. Rep. Berkley is one of nearly 70 members of Congress to show support for the bill. It was introduced by Rep. Jim McDermott (D-WA) and Rep. Tom Petri (R-WI), the Salmon Economic Analysis and Planning Act (H.R. 1507)


"We have been working together to ensure that wild salmon continue to inhabit these magnificent western waters, but I fear that time may be running out and that our future generations will be the losers," said Congresswoman Berkley. "That is why I strongly support efforts in Congress to explore new options for improved management of salmon stocks along the Columbia and Snake River systems and applaud the broad coalition of support that this issue enjoys throughout Nevada and the West."


Spanning six western states (Nevada, Wyoming, Idaho, California, Washington, and Oregon), the Columbia-Snake Basin was once home to the world's most prolific salmon runs. Habitat destruction, poor water management, and dams on the lower Snake River have caused wild salmon and steelhead populations, which once graced Nevada's Owyhee and Bruneau rivers and remain legendary to Nevada sportsmen and anglers, to decline dramatically.


"Losing these fish is devastating rural communities and outdoor recreation throughout the West. Fisheries are closing, recreational tourism is declining, businesses are laying off workers, and communities are suffering," said Andy Mitchell, a Nevada-based representative of outdoor clothing and gear supplier Patagonia. "This is a real problem that needs real, honest solutions. Rep. Berkley, through her support of the Salmon Economic Analysis and Planning Act, is helping to ensure that options for salmon restoration get a full and fair look."


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"We have spent nearly $8 billion dollars over 25 years to improve the Columbia and Snake River systems for salmon and steelhead, and still these fish are losing ground," said Bobby Hayden, western regional representative for Save Our Wild Salmon, a coalition of conservation organizations, commercial and sportfishing associations, fishing businesses, and taxpayer and clean energy advocates working to restore wild salmon to the rivers, streams and oceans of the Pacific Salmon states. "We appreciate the support Rep. Berkley has shown on this critical Western issue. We urge the rest of the Nevada delegation to follow the Congresswoman's lead and step up to protect and restore Snake River salmon and steelhead."


CONTACT: Therese Wells of the Save Our Wild Salmon Coalition,


+1-206-286-4455 x107


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