March 09, 2005

Crapo Salmon Tour To Showcase Efforts For Endangered Fish & Local Economy

Watershed project shows funding, partnerships working

Salmon - The collaborative efforts Idaho is making to improve conditions for endangered salmon and steelhead will be highlighted this weekend as Senator Mike Crapo leads a tour and discussions in Leadore and Salmon. Crapo, chairman of the Senate subcommittee dealing with anadromous fish issues, is fighting to get Idaho more money under the federally funded Pacific Coastal Salmon Recovery Fund. Saturday, he will meet with local landowners, ranchers, fish advocacy groups, and state and federal agency officials to showcase the stateâ??s efforts at improving habitat for fish along the Lemhi and Salmon Rivers, while enhancing the economic viability of the collaborating ranch operations.â??Ranchers along the Lemni, in partnership with federal and state officials, have demonstrated the enormous potential for this kind of habitat improvement work,â?? Crapo said. â??It is essential that we increase federal resources, including money, to realize the full potential of these efforts and these meetings will help deliver that message.â??Crapo noted concerns over changes in the federal biological opinion, and budget decisions by the Bonneville Power Administration, could affect efforts to improve habitat for salmon and steelhead in Idaho. â??We in Idaho have demonstrated our long-standing commitment to recovery of salmon and steelhead, and we press the case for increased funding so these collaborative recovery efforts can grow. I include our ongoing effort to get Idaho a share of the federal Pacific Coastal Salmon Recovery Fund in those efforts. But it all begins here in collaborative, on the ground, success stories. A key element is that these ranchers are demonstrating how fish recovery and habitat enhancements work hand in glove with strong, sustainable family ranching operations.â??Crapo will lead a tour of stream restorations and habitat improvements along the Lemhi River between Leadore and Salmon Saturday morning. He will lead a discussion beginning at 11:00 a.m. at the Idaho Fish and Game Screen Shop in Salmon, behind the Fish and Game offices north of Salmon off U.S. Highway 93. More than 50 people have already RSVPâ??d to attend the meeting tomorrow, including representatives from: the Upper Salmon Basin Watershed Project Team, Lemhi & Custer Soil & Water Conservation Districts, Idaho Department of Water Resources, NOAA Fisheries, Idaho Fish & Game, Salmon River Coalition, Governorâ??s Office of Species Conservation, U.S. Fish & Wildlife Service, U.S. Army Corps of Engineers, local county commissioners and mayors, Shoshone-Bannock Tribe, local irrigators, landowners, and ranchers, U.S. Forest Service, Bureau of Land Management, NRCS, Bonneville Power Administration, Idaho Department of Lands, and salmon advocacy groups.# # #