Common-sense approach to salmon restoration needed

Citizens for a Sound Economy today denounced a lawsuit filed against the Army Corps of Engineers by four so-called environmental groups on April 10. The groups are suing the Corps over its decision to remove salmon-killing Caspian Terns from Rice Island in the Columbia River.

Rice Island was built by the Corps from materials dredged out of the river. Caspian Terns — a slender seabird closely related to gulls — first began to colonize artificial island in 1986. This species of tern dives into the water to capture prey, and nests in large colonies.

“These Terns, which live on a manmade island built by a federal agency, eat as many as 16 million salmon smolts a year,” said CSE Foundation Director of Environmental Policy Patrick Burns. “Removing them from this area, which is not in the strictest sense their natural habitat, is one of the first steps we should be taking to recover salmon.

“CSE supports common-sense salmon recovery efforts that do not sacrifice the property rights of the people of the Pacific Northwest. The fact that these special-interest groups have immediately resorted to lawsuits to stop such common-sense solutions clearly demonstrates that they have agendas go far beyond saving fish.”

Over the past year the National Marine Fisheries Service has added nearly a dozen sub groups of salmon and steelhead to the Endangered Species List. These listing are expected to have sweeping regulatory impacts throughout the Pacific Northwest including caps on water use, limits on agricultural irrigation, new regulation of construction and transportation projects, destruction of dams, higher costs for new homes, restrictions on the use of lawn fertilizers, and higher water and energy bills.