Written by Jen Finn
PORTLAND – A tiny, unnamed stream in the Willamette Valley became the center of Oregon's long-running battle over salmon and dams on Thursday when the state high court delivered a resounding victory for advocates of wild migratory fish.
The Oregon Supreme Court ruled that the state's wildlife department has for years incorrectly interpreted its rules concerning the needs of migratory fish through dams. The court ruled that the department must enforce a state law that puts the needs of the fish's passage ahead of the dams owners' right to determine the best needs of their water rights.
Charles and Deborah Noble own a property upstream from two small, private dams, and made improvements on the stream to allow for cutthroat trout habitat and migration.
The dams allowed for fish to travel over their tops when the water level was high enough, which the Oregon Department of Fish and Wildlife found was sufficient to permit fish to migrate.
But the Nobles argued that the fish passages were insufficient, and the department had illogical rules regarding when dam owners needed to allow fish passage through the dams — the department held that owners only need to allow fish passage when water was between 5 percent and 95 percent of its total capacity.
Read the full story at the Statesman-Journal>>
The following was released by the Maine Department of Marine Resources on Jan. 22:
The Maine Department of Marine Resources announced an emergency regulation that will support the continued rebuilding effort in Maine’s scallop fishery. The rule, effective January 23, 2016, will close the Muscle Ridge Area near South Thomaston and the Western Penobscot Bay Area.Read more...
Louisiana’s Department of Wildlife and Fisheries, which governs commercial and recreational fishing in the state, got a new boss in January. Charlie Melancon, a former member of the U.S. House of Representatives and state legislator, was appointed to the job by the state’s new governor, John Bel Edwards.
Although much of his non-political work in the past has centered on the state’s sugar cane industry, Melancon said he is confident that other experience, including working closely with fishermen when in Congress, has prepared him well for this new challenge.Read more...