Washington: Salmon extinction scandal begins to unravel

Washington’s timber industry won a 50-year exemption from the Endangered Species Act by promising to take steps to help endangered salmon and other critters that depend on clear, cold water in Washington streams. But it was a complicated and contentious deal that had environmentalists and even scientists in the federal agencies that approved the pact calling foul.


Their criticism: This is a political deal that gives short shrift to the science of saving salmon. The agreement, they said, didn’t assure that the steps being taken would actually result in salmon recovery. Those steps included not cutting timber along the banks of fish-friendly streams and making sure roads used to truck out timber aren’t smothering the streams. 

This week, a new state study showed that the timber industry in many cases isn’t living up even to the terms of what the environmentalists and federal wildlife scientists called a flawed deal. The state Department of Natural Resources announced results of its random checks of private industrial forestlands to see if they’re logging so as to protect salmon and other endangered critters.

Sorry, salmon: The study found loggers failing to live up to logging rules under the so-called Forests and Fish deal 25 percent of the time. (As for building roads in such a way so as to not harm fish, they’re doing a little bit better. Noncompliance was at a 13 percent rate.) “Not all infractions have the same impact on public resources, but we need to move toward full compliance,” Commissioner of Public Lands Peter Goldmark responded in a news release. http://seattlepostglobe.org/index.php?option=com_content&view=article&id=222:state-25-percent-of-logging-operations-dont-meet-rules&catid=1:latest-news&Itemid=18

Posted via email from Deane’s posterous

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