Willamette River Salmon and Steelhead

Willamette River Salmon and Steelhead

Current Status:
WON

Case Title:
3:18-cv-00437-JR

Staff attorney(s):
Laurie Rule
Lizzy Potter

Client(s):

Native Fish Society

Northwest Environmental Defense Center

WildEarth Guardians

To Protect:

Salmon

Steelhead

Date won/settled:
August 17, 2020

States:
Oregon

Case Information:

October 16, 2020 – Advocates for the West filed our remedy proposal, opening brief, and expert declarations in the remedial phase of this case. Our proposed injunction encompasses multiple measures aimed at reducing harm to the wild spring Chinook salmon and winter steelhead from the most significant problems related to the operation of the Willamette Project— fish passage and water quality.

August 17, 2020 – Chief Judge Hernandez of the District of Oregon ruled in favor of Upper Willamette River wild spring Chinook salmon and winter steelhead, finding that the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers (Corps) and National Marine Fisheries Service (NMFS) failed to take necessary steps to ensure the survival and recovery of these iconic fish in violation of the Endangered Species Act (ESA).

December 13, 2019 – Advocates for the West filed our reply brief in this case.

Upper Willamette River wild spring Chinook salmon and winter steelhead are facing the threat of extinction due largely to dam operations in Oregon’s Willamette River basin. Advocates for the West filed an emergency injunction in federal court to compel the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers (the Corps) to make immediate operational changes at four of these dams.

Advocates for the West is seeking an order requiring the Corps to take immediate measures to reduce mortality and harm to these iconic fish. Such measures include:

  • Prioritizing dam operations for the benefit of the threatened fish except as needed for flood control and human health.
  • Providing deeper reservoir drawdowns at Detroit, Cougar, Fall Creek, and Lookout Point dams to aid fish passage.
  • Regulating outlets to discharge cooler water at Lookout Point and Detroit dams.
  • Improving monitoring and coordination with state and federal agencies.