BOISE – Idaho’s salmon workgroup continued to forge ahead Nov. 19 with discussions on a framework and ways to build consensus and craft policy recommendations to Gov. Brad Little. The Idaho Department of Fish and Game’s headquarters in Boise hosted this fifth meeting of the workgroup.

Workgroup members also discussed the Bonneville Power Administration’s financial status, predators such as fish-eating birds and mammals, and the policy implications of U.S. vs Oregon, a court ruling on Columbia River tribes’ treaty fishing rights and fishery management.

 Justin Hayes, executive director of the Idaho Conservation League and a workgroup member, said, “We’re continuing to hear very frank and honest discussions on how we can all work together to bring back Idaho’s fish in abundance.” He added, “The workgroup faces a deadline so members realize the urgent task ahead of us.” 

The workgroup will continue to meet next year (schedule TBD) with a deadline of Dec. 2020 to deliver policy recommendations to Gov. Little. 

Hayes stated, “By the 2020 deadline, we have to find a way to come to consensus on solutions to address all the issues facing Idaho’s wild salmon and steelhead. We need to consider immediate fixes to stem extinction and also mid- to long-term solutions to fully restore Idaho’s fish to abundance. In order to do this, it’s becoming clear that we have to discuss all the 4 Hs (hatcheries, harvest, hydropower or dams, and habitat) and ocean conditions and predators when we consider our policy recommendations.”

In addition, workgroup members discussed allowing public comment at future meetings during a more convenient time, such as in the evening. The salmon workgroup’s agenda subgroup decided not to allow public comments at this meeting, only written ones. Click here to submit a written comment on Idaho’s salmon and the workgroup. 

ICL is working to save Idaho’s salmon and steelhead. Idaho’s iconic fish populations are spiraling toward extinction despite the hard work of many local communities. If Idaho loses salmon and steelhead, not only will these species perish, an integral part of Idaho’s history, culture, economy and outdoors life will also disappear. Bold action is needed now to develop solutions together that will keep communities whole and not leave Idahoans behind.