PFMC Analyzes Pending Drought Relief Bills and Impacts on Salmon

In response to a congressional request for information from Representatives Jared Huffman (D-CA) and Mike Thompson (D-CA), the Pacific Fishery Management Council has analyzed and commented on three pending drought relief bills making their way through Congress, specifically with regard to impacts of each bill on salmon populations on the West Coast. PFMC generally supports the provisions of H.R. 2983/S. 1837 (co-sponsored by Rep. Huffman and Senator Barbara Boxer (D-CA)), although that bill has not gained much traction in Congress.

PFMC expressed support for provisions of S. 1894 (co-sponsored by Senators Boxer and Dianne Feinstein (D-CA)), although it expressed concern with provisions of that bill that call for more reservoirs and increased pumping from the San Francisco Bay Delta Estuary.

The Council opposes H.R. 2898 (Rep. David Valadao, (R-CA)), noting that it “appears primarily aimed at increasing water for agricultural interests at the expense of fish by permanently weakening Federal and state endangered species protections.” PFMC noted that the negative impacts of H.R. 2898 could have far-reaching impacts on salmon fisheries in Oregon and Washington, in addition to California, as many of the fish originating in California’s Central Valley are caught off the entire West Coast.

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