Posts tagged: salmon

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unEARTHED is a forum for the voices and stories of the people behind Earthjustice's work. The views and opinions expressed in this blog do not necessarily represent the opinion or position of Earthjustice or its board, clients, or funders.

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View John McManus's blog posts
04 November 2011, 4:39 PM
Court refuses to denude smelt of ESA protections
The Delta

On Monday, the U.S. Supreme Court handed conservationists a victory and some good news for endangered wildlife. The court denied a request by an anti-wildlife right-wing group to strip federal Endangered Species Act protections from a rare species – a California fish called the delta smelt.

The right-wing Pacific Legal Foundation, has tried repeatedly to get any federal court to rule that the federal government has no power to extend ESA protection to species that exist only in a single state and have no current commercial value. The smelt just happens to be a species of convenience that fit those terms. PLF has been rebuffed by five different federal courts of appeals and now the Supreme Court.

Earthjustice attorney Trent Orr was involved in the big rebuff of PLF, pointing out to the courts that the anti-wildlife group simply didn’t understand established law. The Supreme Court hardly needed to hear it, having upheld the ESA by rejecting review of five earlier challenges from other corners of the nation.

View Jim McCarthy's blog posts
22 September 2011, 1:18 PM
Once-abundant salmon runs could be revived
Young tribal member watches Elwha Dam flow

This week, workers began tearing down two massive dams on Washington’s Elwha River. Together, the 108-foot high Elwha Dam and the nearby 210-foot Glines Canyon Dam have stood for nearly a century -- as barriers between seven distinct native salmon runs and their natal streams in the Olympic National Park.

The removal and restoration, hailed as the largest in American history, represents the culmination of more than 20 years of effort by local tribal members, dedicated activists and a few good attorneys, including an Earthjustice lawyer named Ron Wilson.

3 Comments   /  
View Jim McCarthy's blog posts
21 September 2011, 3:01 PM
Judge upholds science on Delta salmon recovery plan
Chinook salmon

On Tuesday, a Fresno judge issued a mixed ruling on a federal salmon rebuilding plan critical to the survival of struggling Central Valley salmon runs as well as to the livelihoods of fishing families and communities throughout California and coastal Oregon.

5 Comments   /  
View Jessica Knoblauch's blog posts
19 September 2011, 2:10 PM
EJ90 brings you the latest news in Earthjustice litigation
Photo courtesy of derrickkwa

Hello, unEarthed readers! I’d like to introduce you to a new Earthjustice production designed to keep you up-to-date on the latest Earthjustice litigation news. It’s a podcast called EJ90. And the best part is that it’s only 90 seconds, so you can quickly get updates on wildlife protection, natural resource conservation, and environmental health and safety news, all before you start your day. You can also subscribe to EJ90 on iTunes and make it part of your daily podcast listening routine. 

So far, EJ90 has covered everything from Arctic drilling to Obama’s decision to undermine the EPA’s ozone standards.  Here’s a roundup of the latest EJ90 podcasts:

1 Comment   /  
View John McManus's blog posts
22 August 2011, 1:11 PM
Fish-killing dams on Elwha River about to be removed
Fish that would benefit from dams removal on Elwha

Next month, contractors will start removing two massive dams on the Elwha River which runs through Washington’s Olympic peninsula. It is expected to bring about the largest single increase of salmon habitat and population in the Northwest.

The dam removal caps efforts started more than 20 years ago by a local tribe and visionary activists with support from Earthjustice. The dams once provided power for a paper and pulp mill, but other sources will now provide the power.

As the river returns to its historical conditions, 392,000 fish will eventually reoccupy 70 miles of habitat now blocked by the dams. This compares to about 4,000 salmon the dammed river produces annually.

1 Comment   /  
View Jessica Knoblauch's blog posts
04 August 2011, 2:22 PM
Koch-sponsored legislation, toxic drinking water, News Corp. climate scandal
Energy companies to taxpayers: "Money, please." Photo courtesy of

Dirty energy industry takes handouts despite record profits
Last week, oil and gas companies announced billion-dollar profits in their second quarter, reports the New York Times, even as they continue to receive government subsidies. BP, the infamous oil company that wrecked the Gulf’s economy and environment last year with an unprecedented oil spill, reported about $5.6 billion in profits, and Exxon Mobil earned about $10 billion in April, May and June. While these corporations are busy laughing all the way to the bank, this week President Obama signed a debt deal that won’t cut oil and gas subsidies but will cut about $500 billion from “nondefense discretionary spending,” which includes funds for investments in health and environmental protection, among other things. No need to worry, though. The American Petroleum Institute assured the American public that, “When our industry does well, much of America does well also.” What a relief!

Corporations secretly writing anti-environmental bills for legislators
A number of mega corporations and politicians have secretively been collaborating on ghostwriting “model” legislative bills that legislators then introduce in state capitols across the country, reports the Center for Media and Democracy. Many of the bills pushed by the American Legislative Exchange Council (ALEC) target environmental regulations, like forbidding local governments from limiting pesticide use, opposing uniform rules on hazardous coal combustion, and putting the regulation of fracking in the hands of the states rather than establishing federal safety and environmental standards. Despite its nonprofit status, which limits its ability to lobby, ALEC members regularly hand bills to legislators, which some argue is the very definition of lobbying. Add that to the fact that the Koch brothers are very big fans and funders of ALEC, and it’s not hard to see that this is a recipe for environmental and democratic disaster.

View Jessica Knoblauch's blog posts
17 June 2011, 5:19 AM
Formaldehyde fess up, climate change symptoms, eco bag attack
The FDA recently released new restrictions for sunscreen manufacturers. Photo courtesy of earthly delights.

New sunscreen rules keep consumers from getting burned
After 30 years of sitting in the sun, this week the U.S. Food and Drug Administration announced new rules for sunscreen that help protect consumers from misleading claims, reports the New York Times. One of the rules requires “broad spectrum” sunscreens to protect against both UVA and UVB rays, which both cause cancer. A second rule bans sunscreen manufacturers from using the term “waterproof” or “sweatproof” as both of those claims are, well, false. Instead, manufacturers can specify the amount of time that sunscreen is water-resistant. Though other questions remain, such as the safety of nanoparticles in sunscreen, it’s nice to see that proper skin protection finally gets its day in the sun.

House of Representatives throws GE salmon off dinner table
Recently, the House voted to keep genetically engineered salmon out of U.S. waters by prohibiting the FDA from approving the fish for human consumption, reports the Associated Press. Made by AquaBounty, the salmon is engineered to grow twice as fast as the natural version. Though that sounds tasty on the surface, critics argue that the so-called “frankenfish” could cause allergies in humans and infiltrate—and eventually decimate—the wild salmon population, an argument that has garnered support from both sides of the political spectrum. This past May, Earthjustice petitioned the FDA to consider the environmental risks of GE salmon before approving its sale.

View John McManus's blog posts
16 June 2011, 11:43 AM
Judge deals them a setback in latest ruling
Sacramento River salmon

It’s hard to view the recent actions of some big agricultural operations in California’s San Joaquin Valley as anything but hostile to the state’s wildlife. Some of the biggest growers are refusing to take an overflowing allotment of irrigation water as enough and are cluttering up the court system with lawsuits aimed at wringing every last drop of water for themselves, no matter what damage that causes native fish species. 

The big growers went to court last week trying to force state and federal operators of water diversion pumps in the Sacramento/Bay delta to crank up to the max even though thousands of juvenile fall run king salmon have been killed at the pumps over the last few weeks. The young fish are trying to migrate from the rivers where they were born to the sea. The carnage at the pumps lead pump operators to ratchet back pumping. This infuriated water users but the judge refused to order more salmon killing, agreeing that federal law requires pump operators to take steps to protect t salmon runs that traverse the Sacramento/ Bay delta.
As the judge was ruling, a respected policy center released a new study showing that although the big growers moaned and groaned during the recent three year drought, most also found a way to keep the water coming and earned near record profits.   This happened while wildlife that lives in or migrates through the Sacramento/Bay delta suffered sharp declines due to lower than usual water flows.

1 Comment   /  
View Terry Winckler's blog posts
29 April 2011, 12:00 PM
Video documentary captures struggle to save salmon on Columbia, Snake rivers

I’ve spent half my life chasing salmon with rod in hand and heart in mouth, but it seems that I am the one who’s been hooked. Enchanted, perhaps, is a better way of describing my love of all things salmon; thus, at 8 p.m. this Sunday, you’ll find me riveted in front of a TV watching the PBS special, Salmon: Running The Gauntlet.

From everything I’ve read and seen, this is one powerful documentary about the Columbia and Snake rivers salmon, and the heroic efforts of those who seek to save them. Shot and written from the point of view of the salmon, it takes you through the life cycle of a fish that faces hostility at every twist and turn of its existence. How any survive is part miracle, and part dedication by the kind of people who surround me here at Earthjustice.  

View Jim McCarthy's blog posts
20 April 2011, 5:40 PM
Fishing groups pitch restoration message during president's visit
King salmon. (Photo: Zureks / Wikimedia)

President Barack Obama came to California on Wednesday on a fundraising blitz, and California's salmon-dependent communities tried a blitz of their own to turn his attention towards protecting the Sacramento River king salmon run. San Francisco Bay Area commercial and sportfishing groups, restaurants and seafood distributors published a half page ad in the San Francisco Chronicle on page A9. Longtime California troller Tom Stickel and his working salmon boat Regina served as spokesmodels for their message.

There’s not much to add to what they had to say to the president, and in the hopes he listens to California’s fishing businesses, it’s worth repeating here: