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A new study shows health disparities cost Texas billions of dollars; Senate rejects impeachment articles against Mayorkas, ending trial against Cabinet secretary; Iowa cuts historical rural school groups.

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The Senate dismisses the Mayorkas impeachment. Maryland Lawmakers fail to increase voting access. Texas Democrats call for better Black maternal health. And polling confirms strong support for access to reproductive care, including abortion.

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Rural Wyoming needs more vocational teachers to sustain its workforce pipeline, Ohio environmental advocates fear harm from a proposal to open 40-thousand forest acres to fracking and rural communities build bike trail systems to promote nature, boost the economy.

Will PacifiCorp make good on its fish recovery promises?

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Tuesday, January 16, 2024   

Coming into the new year, Columbia Riverkeeper is supporting efforts by the Cowlitz Tribe and Yakama Nation to restore salmon migration throughout the Lewis River. Fish passages would enable migration around dams and access to blocked habitats, essential for salmon and steelhead recovery in the culturally vital Lewis River basin.

Miles Johnson, legal director with Columbia Riverkeeper, said he's optimistic about a future of thriving fish and river wildlife.

"We're tentatively pretty excited," Johnson said. "We're going to see fish in parts of the Lewis River, which is a really important tributary of the lower Columbia. We're going to see fish in places that they haven't been in many, many years."

PacifiCorp recently agreed to a new schedule to install fish passage at two of its hydroelectric dams on the Lewis. Johnson said PacifiCorp broke a previous pledge to retrofit its dams to include fish passage, adding that Columbia Riverkeeper will continue to hold the company accountable for promises to tribes and the public.

Johnson said Columbia Riverkeeper will also be watching the project carefully to ensure PacifiCorp follows through, given what he described as its past focus on financial interests over legal obligations.

"These are really expensive projects to build, and PacifiCorp has demonstrated a history of putting its bottom line before its obligations, to the fish and people who use the river," he continued.

Johnson added although things are in motion, until the fish passage facilities are built in a way that's meaningful and going to work, they will continue to monitor the process and if necessary, try to hold PacifiCorp accountable.

He said science shows that reconnecting fish with existing, high-quality spawning habitat is the best way to recover the Lewis River's struggling populations of spring Chinook and coho salmon, steelhead and bull trout.

Disclosure: Columbia Riverkeeper contributes to our fund for reporting on Endangered Species & Wildlife, Environment, Water. If you would like to help support news in the public interest, click here.


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