Rrecent Press Releases
Approximately 200 people attended a meeting at Payette Brewing in Boise to learn more about the CuMo Project and potential impacts from mine exploration and development. The meeting was hosted by local and statewide conservation groups.
U.S. District Court Judge Michael Simon yesterday approved a plan for increased spill at eight dams on the Columbia and Snake rivers. The plan was developed in response to the court’s April 2017 order requiring the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers to spill more water through spillways (as opposed to through turbines) to boost survival of endangered salmon and steelhead.
The Idaho Department of Fish and Game today acknowledged that sockeye salmon from its new $14 million Springfield Hatchery in southern Idaho are dying at difficult-to-explain rates.
In a press release issued today, Fish and Game biologists said their leading theory about why is because of a difference in water hardness between the hatchery and the natural lakes and streams in the upper Salmon River system.
Lawmakers in Washington, D.C. this Thursday will weigh in on a bill Idaho conservationists have coined the “Sock-it-to-Idaho Act” for its attempt to wipe out progress made on behalf of endangered wild salmon and the people who depend on them.
Before the third annual Free the Snake Flotilla launched Saturday morning, Lewiston native and IRU member Devon Barker-Hicks gave an inspiring speech to encourage people to refocus on building, not tearing things down. “We built the dams,” she said. “We know how to build. Let’s use our collective knowledge to build. Let’s build beaches. Let’s build current. Let’s build shade. Let’s build fish runs.”
Steelhead are returning to Idaho in record-low numbers and prompting fisheries managers to curtail this fall’s fishing season. According to an Aug. 15 press release from the Idaho Department of Fish and Game about 400 steelhead had crossed Lower Granite Dam and entered Idaho by Monday, Aug. 14. The 10-year average for the date is about 6,000 steelhead.
Five Northwest political leaders yesterday introduced legislation seeking to block a federal court order that requires increased protections for Idaho’s endangered salmon. “These five members of Congress have written a death warrant for endangered salmon,” said IRU Executive Director Kevin Lewis. “This bill must be stopped dead in its tracks.”
A consortium of Idaho conservation groups this week called on the federal government to end barging of sockeye salmon, a practice they said is clearly bad for Idaho’s most imperiled and endangered salmon.
Federal dam managers on the Columbia and Snake rivers must increase water releases over spillways at eight dams to improve survival rates for juvenile salmon migrating to the ocean starting in 2018, a federal court ruled today.
More than 250,000 individuals have submitted comments since early October when the federal agencies’ (Army Corps of Engineers, Bonneville Power Administration, U.S. Bureau of Reclamation) public comment period began. The vast majority of these comments are urging the Corps to remove the four lower Snake River dams in order to bring back endangered salmon.
The Nez Perce Tribe, Idaho Rivers United and legal group Advocates for the West recently finalized a settlement agreement with the U.S. Forest Service to protect historic uses of U.S. Highway 12 in north-central Idaho while restricting megaload shipments to preserve the area’s spectacular scenery and cultural significance.
The Federal Energy Regulatory Commission dismissed a petition today that would have overridden state ability to enforce water quality standards—a right that has been codified by the Supreme Court. The ruling was a win for IRU and other conservation groups that are seeking better water quality standards at three Idaho Power Co. dams on the Snake River in Hells Canyon.
Pacific Northwest salmon advocates filed in federal district court late yesterday to seek implementation of emergency measures to protect endangered salmon, as well as taxpayers, while federal agencies conduct long-term analyses of federal dams and the impact they have on salmon.
The lower Snake River will take center stage Wednesday afternoon and evening in Lewiston, where the Bonneville Power Administration, U.S. Army Corps of Engineers and U.S. Bureau of Reclamation will host an open house to seek public input on developing a new lawful, science-based plan to prevent extinction of wild salmon and steelhead in the Columbia and Snake rivers.
After two decades and five failed attempts to write a legal and biologically-sound plan to keep Idaho’s endangered salmon from going extinct, the federal government has announced a fall meeting schedule to gather public input about how to manage dams in the region.
Hundreds gathered in the Lewis-Clark Valley of north Idaho and eastern Washington today to paddle in support of a free-flowing lower Snake River.
In response to rising water temperatures and inaction by federal agencies, Pacific Northwest groups, including IRU, are filing to sue the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency to take action and prevent massive, heat-driven fish kills.
U.S. District Judge Edward J. Lodge again found that the Forest Service had acted arbitrarily and capriciously by approving the CuMo Exploration Project in the Bloise River headwaters without adequate environmental analysis.
A never-say-die dam proposal for the Bear River of southeast Idaho is finally dead. Citing a host of environmental concerns raised by IRU and our allies, the Federal Energy Regulatory Commission today formally rejected the application to build a new hydropower dam at the Bear River narrows, a scenic canyon east of Preston and an area popular with anglers and paddlers.
A federal court order issued May 12 protects the Selway and Middle Fork Clearwater Wild and Scenic rivers from clear cuts and roads planned by the U.S. Forest Service following the 2014 Johnson Bar Fire.
In a powerful 149-page ruling delivered yesterday, federal District Judge Michael Simon lambasted the federal government for failing to show that its dams on the Columbia and Snake rivers aren't driving endangered salmon and steelhead toward extinction.
Citing harm to the rare, native plant Sacajawea’s bitterroot and uncertain impacts to water quality, three conservation groups filed their opening brief in court yesterday to stop the CuMo mineral exploration project from moving forward in the headwaters of the Boise River.
Citing imminent and irreparable harm to two of America’s original Wild and Scenic Rivers, two environmental groups yesterday filed for an emergency preliminary injunction to stop a Selway River logging operation.
A federal judge this week upheld Wild and Scenic River values when he declared that the U.S. Forest Service ignored the Wild and Scenic Rivers Act by approving access to a state logging sale in the Selway River canyon.
Idaho Rivers United filed in federal court today to defend the Wild and Scenic rivers of the Clearwater River basin in North Idaho. The suit challenges the U.S. Forest Service’s approval of the Johnson Bar Fire Salvage Project, which would facilitate logging of 34 million board feet of timber from 2,104 acres within the watershed of the Selway and Middle Fork Clearwater rivers.
The sockeye salmon die-off of 2015 is a disaster that must be prevented in the future, charge more than 20 signatories in a letter sent today to the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers. “The Army Corps’ inability to protect returning adult salmon from high water temperatures caused the unauthorized ‘take’ of ESA-listed Snake River sockeye in 2015,” the signatories state.
Idaho Rivers United, Idaho Conservation League and Golden Eagle Audubon Society filed a lawsuit in federal district court in Boise today, faulting the U.S. Forest Service for approving the CuMo mining project without taking sufficient steps to protect water quality and rare flower habitat.
Idaho Rivers United yesterday sent a 60-day notice of its intent to sue Ada County for ongoing infractions of the federal Clean Water Act. The notice, mailed Wednesday, Dec. 2, charges the county with failing to obtain a Clean Water Act permit to discharge stormwater into the Boise River at Expo Idaho.
A new report commissioned by IRU concludes that stormwater managers will be wise to invest further in green stormwater systems because they'll be more cost-effective over the long haul and provide additional benefits that traditional stormwater systems can't.
A new community-generated plan recommends collaborative action to enhance fish and wildlife habitat and reduce pollution and flood risk on the Boise River. The Boise River Enhancement Plan recommends short and long term actions.