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[1] The Methow: Water for Fighting, Water For Fish
[2] More Legal Battles Coming Over Fish
[3] Judge OKs Killing Oregon Hatchery Fish
[4] More and Less Money For Hatcheries
[5] Enviros Call For Salmon Summit While Idaho Sporties Wait for Big Fish Year
[6] Skokomish Tribe Sues Over Dam Damage
[7] NW Governors Agree on Principles For New Governance Entity
[8] Caucus Seeks New Name For "Four-H" Paper

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NMFS policymakers have not exactly won the hearts and minds of Methow Valley residents since they began imposing restrictions on irrigators to conserve flows for fish in the Northeast Washington watershed, home to endangered spring chinook and steelhead. And things aren't getting any better. The state's Fish and Wildlife Department has proposed ending all trout fishing along the river to reduce hooking mortality of juvenile steelhead.

And at a meeting last month to discuss a proposed memorandum of agreement of state, county and federal officials that spells out development of a habitat conservation plan (HCP), it was reported that more than three-fourths of the 350 people in attendance felt that county commissioners shouldn't sign on.

Okanogan County commissioner Dave Schultz is caught in the middle. "I'm trying to tell people that there are consequences to the ESA," said Schultz last week, who added that he had received threats for trying to take a leadership role in the county over the water issue. Schultz said his constituents are worried about the target flow levels that NMFS might set for fish. He calls it "the gap," the difference between high and low instream flows and the targets designed to improve conditions for fish.

The MOA describes how reductions in water withdrawals might be apportioned by users on a voluntary basis, a policy that conflicts with the state's junior and senior water rights policy, under which those with the longest-held rights have first dibs on the water. The proposed MOA also directs the state's Department of Ecology to take the lead in surveying the current water situation and enforce statutes against wasteful and unauthorized water usage, along with creation of a water bank.

"We're going back to square one on water usage," Schultz said, who feels sure that once an accurate accounting is completed for the basin's actual water withdrawals, NMFS and the state Department of Ecology will be surprised. He said he's sure there's a big difference between the "paper water" that's described in a water right and the amount actually used by county residents.

He noted that recent state legislation, HB 2514, which has given local residents a chance to assess the water situation in the Methow, will produce some "astonishing results." He said new studies are showing that local irrigators are not wasting water through leaky ditches as federal authorities claim, but are recharging the aquifer as a 1992 USFWS study suggested.

Federal policymakers who are pushing the MOA say it will offer irrigators certainty over the next few years while flow targets are being developed to improve fish runs. Once the HCP is signed, irrigators will be released from the threat of potential third-part lawsuits over ESA issues.

The proposed MOA says: "To promote the support and confidence of water users and the public in this agreement, Ecology affirms its duty to vigorously represent the sovereign interests of the state with respect to water resources...Ecology further affirms its statutory limitations on its authority over water resources, which require that nothing in this agreement operate to impair or diminish any valid existing water right."

Critics of the proposal, like Mike Poulson of the Washington Agriculture Legal Foundation, say NMFS has not released any data that shows a correlation between reduced flows in the Methow and a decline in salmon. "The agency's goal appears to be obtaining control of as much water as possible from the headwaters of the Methow to the mouth of the Columbia, regardless of state law and individual water rights," Poulson said in an opinion piece in a local paper. He said the region had become "ground zero" last summer for the state's salmon recovery effort, after NMFS shut down several irrigation ditches because they passed over Forest Service land.

With the new MOA, all the irrigators in the basin would be affected. Dozens of ditch companies in the valley received certified letters last October from NMFS that advised them to cooperate in developing an HCP for fish or face the possibility of a $25,000 civil penalty or a $100,000 criminal fine and a year in jail, along with the threat of third-party lawsuits for illegal "takings" of fish.

The state Ecology Department has also pushed hard for the HCP. According to Schultz, the DOE has threatened to turn down any new permits for private well drilling unless the county supports the HCP, an action that would, in effect, keep new building permits from being issued.

But Commissioner Schulz said it's unlikely that Okanogan County will sign the memorandum by next month. County officials were talking with the Farm Bureau, Sen. Gorton's office and others to examine options. The Washington Rebublican included express language in the new Interior Appropriations Bill to fund salmon recovery projects that would help irrigators in the Methow Valley.

In fact, Gorton was in eastern Washington recently to address an irrigators' symposium dedicated to salmon issues. Gorton press secretary Cynthia Bergman said her boss discussed the recent Four-H paper released by federal agencies that described a series of options for Columbia Basin salmon recovery. She said Gorton feels it's a chance for the Northwest to come together and decide the fate of the region.

But coming together is apparently not what others have in mind. Environmental and fishing groups put federal agencies on notice that they intend to sue over mainstem water issues themselves. In a Nov. 18 letter to federal authorities, they claim BPA, the Corps of Engineers and the Bureau of Reclamation are violating Sec. 7 of the ESA by managing water in the federal system in a way that "contributes to low stream flow conditions that have harmed and continue to harm anadromous fish. The impacts of these actions likely violate Section 9's prohibition against 'taking' listed fish. Finally, these agencies have not complied with their statutory duty to develop, in consultation with NMFS, programs that provide for the recovery of listed fish."

The groups said the situation could be remedied in many ways. "This includes, but is not limited to, providing a substantial amount of flow augmentation from upriver storage in Idaho, and possibly elsewhere, or by bypassing dams on the lower Snake River that harm endangered salmon. While remedies are readily available, the one thing we cannot do is stand by and wait for the salmon to disappear."

The letter was sent by the Northwest Environmental Defense Center, Oregon Natural Resources Council, Pacific Coast Federation of Fishermen's Associations, the Institute for Fisheries Resources, Trout Unlimited, Waterwatch Oregon and the Sierra Club.

The environmentalists' letter went on to say, "according to scientific experts in and outside of NMFS, flow augmentation efforts constitute an important short-term measure to benefit listed fish."

But a recent draft "white paper" released by the fish agency indicates the latest research has found no relationship between increasing flow and higher juvenile fish survival for Snake River spring chinook, though higher flows may offer benefits to fall chinook.

Comments from the Idaho Water Users Association on the NMFS draft say that mean annual flows in the Snake actually rose slightly in the period 1911-1997 in both upriver and lower river portions, despite water development by the state. They also point out that it's insufficient to meet present flow targets anyway, "and there are numerous legal and institutional barriers to continued flow augmentation from Idaho, let alone additional augmentation...Continuation of the 427,000 af (acre feet) experiment, let alone an increase above this amount, without clear benefits after years of research is not warranted." -Bill Rudolph


A coalition of business and agricultural groups sponsored seminars last week on both sides of the Cascades to discuss how they would be affected by new ESA listings in Washington state. Billed as "the Northwest Salmon Crisis," the meetings attracted farmers, developers and businesses from throughout the region.

Salmon recovery costs may seem miniscule compared to the outputs from the churning economy, but Washington Research Council president Dick Davis had cautious words for the nearly 100 realtors, developers, and farmers who attended the Dec.1 session in Seattle. He said though the Northwest economy is booming in some respects, it is "extremely fragile" right now, a situation that's masked by the number of local software millionaires in the news.
Will NMFS ask these Seattle area cows to move?

Property rights lawyer Rob Rivett of the Sacramento-based Pacific Legal Foundation was blunt about the salmon listings. "It's good for government, it's good for attorneys." Rivett's foundation is filing an amicus brief on behalf of the symposium's sponsor, Common Sense Salmon Recovery, which has filed a lawsuit against NMFS in a Washington DC federal court over salmon harvest and issues related to the way NMFS has developed fish listings using its ESU concept--the "evolutionarily significant unit."

The CSSR suit says that hatchery fish should be counted as part of fish abundance in places like Puget Sound because of extensive interbreeding between wild and hatchery stocks over the past 100 years. If the hatchery stocks had been included, says the suit, the fish would never have been listed in the first place.

But Rivett pointed out that suing NMFS will be tough because the federal government gets substantial deference in the courts. He told the sympathetic group that NMFS is not using hatchery fish in the Puget Sound ESU because the government is out "to control use of land."

However, NMFS recovery planning policymaker Elizabeth Babcock, speaking on a panel at the day-long session, said there was no "paucity of hatchery fish in Puget Sound. We've got too many hatchery fish," she added, noting that her agency has found that hatcheries in the region have had significant adverse impacts on wild fish.

But Tim Harris, from the Pacific Legal Foundation's Bellevue, WA office, said there was "no taxonomic significance" to differences between Puget Sound's hatchery and wild stocks. He called the lawsuit against NMFS "an attempt to hold the federal government's feet to the fire."

Of more immediate interest to the group was the potential effect of the salmon listing on their pocketbooks. Babcock explained how her agency will use what's known as the ESA's "4d rule" to create "tailor-made assessments" for providing incidental take permits for actions that could impact threatened salmon. She said 4d exemptions do not protect against third-party lawsuits from environmental groups or private citizens--unlike habitat conservation plans, which are designed for big operations with "lots of take liability" and usually protect those involved from third-party suits for 50 years.

She said NMFS would support individuals or businesses who were sued after the agency had issued a 4d exemption for them, but added the federal government would not pay attorneys' fees. She said draft 4d rules will be out this month, and must be adopted by June 19, 2000.

Mike Poulson, an eastern Washington farmer and director of the Washington Agriculture Legal Foundation, didn't think that was much help. "In most cases," he said, "farmers can't afford to get involved, even when they're 100 percent right...we need the laws changed so that anybody with a 33-cent stamp can't stop a project."

But attorney Rivett told the group that the ESA is a "sacred cow" and attempts at amending it will be "going nowhere in the near future."

He also said his group would soon file an intent to sue federal agencies in support of Methow Valley irrigators, who have been arguing with NMFS since last spring over water issues.

Another symposium speaker, Perkins Coie land-use attorney Chuck Maduell, told the group that ESA impacts will be felt in a big way next year as many public works projects will have to adjust to the salmon listing after consultation over Section 7 permits with NMFS. (Section 7 of the ESA requires a consultation over any federal action, which includes projects that use federal money).

Maduell said the scope of federal discretion in these consultations is still unclear, and added that there is some feeling among federal authorities that projects should only be approved if they include elements that actually aid recovery and provide a net benefit to the fish, rather than simply avoid harm. He told the group that unlawful consultations under Section 7 of the ESA should be challenged because early lawsuits are likely to "set the bar" for future ones.

Maduell faulted the state and local governments' response to the recent fish listings. He said they were "falling all over themselves to comply," but he thought they were overestimating the risk of liability for third-party actions. According to Maduell, a speech last year by Washington attorney general Christine Gregoire, in which she emphasized the risk, played a major role in the way local governments have handled the ESA situation.

"The ESA cannot compel state and local regulatory action," Maduell pointed out. "Compliance is not recovery," he added. He said legislative officials need to be educated on ESA issues and stakeholders must be involved to promote voluntary incentive-based recovery measures. But he didn't downplay the dramatic effects the listings will have on both urban and rural areas and their economies.

By the end of meeting, it seemed that the CSSR lawsuit may just be one of the first of many to try to sort out questions over water rights, property development, and public works. -B. R.


After a court debate over the difference between wild and hatchery fish, a property rights group lost a suit against the Oregon Department of Fish and Wildlife that tried to stop the agency from killing 3,000 hatchery coho returning to Fall Creek hatchery on the Alsea River.

The Pacific Legal Foundation claimed they were protecting private property rights--reasoning that the hatchery coho were needed to rebuild wild salmon runs listed as threatened species. The foundation and its supporters believe that without these hatchery coho to supplement wild spawning, the wild fish would continue to decline and the government would restrict uses of private property in efforts to rebuild the salmon. A foundation attorney quoted in the Oregonian said the result would allow "...the government to restrict land use and otherwise trample the rights of property owners."

ODFW said it needed to operate the hatchery for one more autumn to recover tags from returning salmon and to dispose of hatchery fish not native to the Alsea Basin. After 1999, no hatchery fish are expected to return.

According to ODFW researcher Tom Nickelson, the Fall Creek hatchery coho "produce young at a much lower rate than do their wild counterparts when allowed to spawn in the wild." His research with Fall Creek hatchery fish has shown the failure of using them to stock streams with the goal of increasing natural runs. Nickelson has also shown that streams stocked with hatchery fish had significantly fewer juveniles in the next generation than did control streams with only wild coho present. In stocked streams, juvenile coho production declined by 46 percent.

Nickelson and other ODFW scientists reasoned that the principal cause for the failure of hatchery coho is because they spawn earlier than wild fish. For example, over Thanksgiving, flows in the Alsea River rose to over 20,000 cubic feet per second in two days. Early spawning hatchery coho salmon would have been affected by this flood.

Oregon also defended itself by saying that Fall Creek Hatchery coho production was started in the early 1950s to provide fish for harvest in Oregon's commercial fisheries.

"This stock of fish was not produced to assist in the conservation or restoration of naturally reproducing coho salmon," said Doug DeHart, chief of the ODFW's Fish Division. "As a result of substantial constraints on coho fisheries in recent years, the opportunity to fish for Fall Creek Hatchery coho has been nearly eliminated."

DeHart also noted that these hatchery coho have declined in recent years, with the survival of hatchery smolts declining from 5 percent in the 1970s to 0.5 percent.

Despite restrictions on harvest, the wild coho have continued to decline with a record low of 213 fish returning in 1998. DeHart said large numbers of hatchery coho smolts released into the Alsea Basin "appear to adversely affect survival of wild coho."

The Pacific Legal Foundation argued for an injunction against ODFW to prevent killing of hatchery coho, hoping that the hatchery fish would be allowed to spawn.

In making his decision Judge Huckleberry acknowledged the passion, fervor and conviction of those seeking an injunction to prevent killing of hatchery coho. But he agreed with Oregon's argument and denied the foundation's request, saying it would "not be the right thing."

"We were grateful the court didn't go for the easy and intuitive result, but relied on the science and the law," said Steve Sanders, representing ODFG from the state AG's office.

The Pacific Legal Foundation moved their plea for an injunction to federal court, but were denied there as well.

Having won this support from the courts, Oregon may be in a better position to protect wild salmon and trout in other policy debates as the state revises its Wild Fish Management Policy next year, leading to the adoption of subbasin plans for natural production in the Columbia Basin above Bonneville Dam, a region where Oregon tribes have sought legislative repeal of the state's wild fish policy. -Bill Bakke


NWPPC staff recommended last week that the Power Planning Council fund the controversial Nez Perce Hatchery in Idaho's Clearwater Subbasin--although for about $5 million less than the original proposal. The scientists who judge F&W proposals had twice recommended against funding the hatchery, citing the experimental nature of the project and uncertain biological benefits.

But the Council staff said after meeting with the Nez Perce tribe, they developed a "low cost/small scale" package for $16 million that included a phased-in approach to construction based on biological triggers. More fine tuning is underway. Council member Larry Cassidy of Washington state said the triggers were so low "that I can't sell it to the people I work for."

Meanwhile, the Washington State Department of Fish and Wildlife announced Nov. 30 that federal budget cuts will reduce hatchery releases from Mitchell Act hatcheries, and from state-run facilities in Idaho and Oregon, along with USFWS hatcheries. The federal cut amounts to more than $1 million for Washington. The state will reduce hatchery releases by at least one million spring chinook, nearly two million coho and at least 200,000 steelhead. It will also close its Beaver Creek facility in Cathlamet, on the lower Columbia River. -Bill Rudolph


Environmental and fishing groups unhappy with the Federal Caucus' draft analysis of 4-H options for salmon recovery have written another letter to President Clinton. In their Nov. 24 letter, they urged the president to convene "a summit of scientists from other state, tribal and federal agencies" to help NMFS address what they termed "errors" in the analysis.

"We believe that NMFS has set the bar for salmon recovery levels too low, underestimated the risk of extinction, failed to identify specific habitat measures and their costs, and downplayed the benefits of dam removal."

Meanwhile, the November issue of Idaho Steelhead and Salmon United's "News & Views" supported breaching lower Snake dams on the front page, but on page two, ISSU's executive director Mitch Sanchotena looked forward to next spring's chinook run. The group belongs to the environmental coalition Save Our Wild Salmon, which signed the latest letter to Clinton.

"And I can tell you what!" Sanchotena wrote, "Even though you didn't hear it here, get your salmon fishing tackle in order. Next year's run is looking like it could be great. The jack counts are greater than at anytime since the lower Snake dams have been in place…This means that if everything tracks true to course we could be fishing salmon next year right here in good old Idaho. The Clearwater, Little Salmon River, and possibly even the South Fork Salmon River could all be open for salmon fishing. It don't get no better than this, folks!"

He credited the potential run to "Mother Nature having all of her stars lined up at the same time," but said it wasn't recovery by any means, since smolt-to-adult survivals were still less than 1 percent, a long way from the 2 percent to 6 percent needed.

But NMFS scientists say with only the two-ocean fish returning so far from the 1997 brood year, the SAR is already 1.6 percent for transported fish. Next year, after the three-ocean fish show up, the SAR could well be above 3 percent. -B. R.


The Skokomish Tribe has filed its long-threatened lawsuit seeking damages from the City of Tacoma and the US government related to Tacoma's Cushman hydroelectric project. The suit, filed Nov. 19 in US District Court for Western Washington, claims the tribe has suffered $5.8 billion in economic damages as a result of Cushman's operation. "The tribe seeks to hold Tacoma and the United States government accountable for 75 years of ruthless economic and human damage to the Skokomish Tribe," Skokomish chairman Denny Hurtado said in a press release.

The lawsuit has been cooking for about two years. In September 1997, the tribe filed a claim against the City of Tacoma, asking for $100 million of the $500 million in past damages Cushman had allegedly caused the Skokomish. The city's rejection of that claim in December 1997 cleared the way for a federal suit for full damages. Since that time, economic studies commissioned by the tribe have set damages at $5.8 billion.

In November 1998, the Skokomish included this higher figure in an administrative claim it filed against the US government. The tribe claimed the government was liable for damages because it allowed the 120 MW, two-dam project to operate without a license for over 70 years. "It was the federal government's duty to license and regulate it so the tribe wouldn't be harmed by the project," tribal spokesman Victor Martino before the claim was filed. In May 1999 the feds turned down the tribe's offer to negotiate a settlement, clearing the way for a lawsuit against the US government.

The suit filed last month says Tacoma obtained the federal license for Cushman under false pretenses, including failure to reveal that the proposed hydro project "would destroy the tribe's major source of salmon and steelhead and otherwise severely damage the economy and habitability of the reservation," and repeats the claim that the federal government has allowed the project to operate since 1926 "without any regulation to protect the environment or to minimize damage to the Skokomish Tribe and general public."

"Tacoma Power believes that these claims are totally without merit and we intend to vigorously contest the allegations," said Tacoma Power superintendent Steve Klein. He also said Tacoma Power has responsibly operated Cushman for over 70 years under a federal license and has complied with all license requirements during that time.

The damages lawsuit joins a host of other court cases related to the Cushman project. In December 1998, a US District Court judge ruled in USA vs. City of Tacoma that Tacoma's 1920 condemnation of certain parcels of Skokomish tribal land, on which the muni built some of the transmission facilities for Cushman, was illegal. The federal damages claim related to that ruling is still in discovery, although city attorney Mark Bubenick said the government has moved to dismiss the case. Tacoma has asked the court to hold off on dismissal, however, until the feds respond to Tacoma's discovery requests. The city wants clarification on to whom it might owe damages, he said--the Skokomish Tribe or individual members.

In addition, the DC Court of Appeals has consolidated seven petitions for review of the July 1998 license FERC issued for the Cushman project, as well as two petitions for review of FERC's later stay of the license pending judicial review. Tacoma is questioning FERC's authority to issue a license with conditions that make the project uneconomic to operate; both Tacoma and the Skokomish Tribe have appealed provisions of the stay. And this summer, FERC told Tacoma it plans to open Section 7 ESA consultations due to recent salmon listings--which could also affect the license conditions.

Finally, a case before the Washington state Supreme Court asks the justices to review an appeals court ruling that directed the state Department of Ecology to issue a new letter regarding the Cushman hydroelectric project's compliance--or non-compliance--with the state's coastal zone management plan. The Supremes have not yet taken up Ecology's petition. -Jude Noland


More activity has been reported in recent weeks in the effort to assure regional control of the Northwest's power and resource assets. The four governors recently refined the principles they have been working on, and a non-governmental group moved closer to approving a work plan for an expanded feasibility study. In addition, legislators from the four states met last month for an update on river governance issues.

Eric Bloch, Oregon representative to the Columbia River Basin Forum, said the governors spoke by phone Nov. 1, and agreed to accept the proposed principles developed by Oregon Gov. Kitzhaber and Montana Gov. Racicot for the creation of a new regional governance entity. They also agreed to use the principles to move to the next step, namely, working with each other and "larger elements of the region and Congressional delegation to fill in some of the specifics left unaddressed by the principles."

Bloch said outstanding questions remain on representation, authority and mission. "So while they agreed to move forward and work on a new governance structure, there was a clear recognition it will not be easy, as they must overcome differences on some of these fundamental questions."

For example, he said, Washington feels that if it were to participate, it would want to have a greater proportion of the vote, because it has "more of a stake in the power system, uses more of the power and has a larger population."

Racicot responded, Bloch recalled, by pointing out Montana provides 40 percent of the water, but doesn't expect 40 percent of the vote. "Everyone has a claim for why their outcome is the right outcome. Our view," he added, referring to Oregon, "is: let's get at it," that the varying perspectives are "all the more reason to get going" on sorting out the structure of the new governance arrangements.

Bloch said the governors' staffs were set to meet last week to continue the work, and the governors themselves would talk again in mid-December.

Bloch said the specific question of a regional entity buying BPA did not come up, but that "purchase and regionalization of the system" is "a question that continues to be on the table for discussion...and will be part of the work done in the next few months."

But he added that regionalization or a buy-out of BPA is a longer-term matter. The governors are "talking about a regional fish and wildlife planning entity, as described in the principles, that can deal with some of the power issues that affect fish and wildlife management. Perhaps that would be the first piece." The governors would like to have something put together next year, he said, or within two years at most.

The document that lays out the governors' seven principles states they were developed "to address at least two major impediments to the development and execution of a successful fish and wildlife recovery effort in the Columbia Basin: fragmentation of decision-making authority and the resultant loss of accountability; and a primacy for the ESA that has resulted in a recovery effort often too narrowly focused and with the federal agencies too much in the lead."

The principles address these issues by "explicitly nesting ESA compliance for listed species within a comprehensive plan that will also meet other federal legal mandates for the benefit of other societal aims. Furthermore, the region, through its plan, would assume the leading role for devising the strategies and measures to meet the ESA, as well as the other legal mandates."

The document calls for an amendment to the NW Power Act establishing "clear lines of authority" and the establishment of a "regional governance entity charged with establishing and assuring implementation of a plan" for operation of dams, restoration of species affected by them, assuring an "adequate, efficient, economical and reliable power supply," and other conditions. The new entity would also have responsibility for BPA oversight, conservation, renewables and other matters currently under the aegis of the Power Planning Council.

The principles themselves mandate that the new governing entity and its plan should meet requirements of the ESA and other environmental statutes, reflect "the region's values and preferences," and have sufficient authority to do its work. The plan should be scientifically based, economically sound and "sensitive to the culture and history" of the tribes, the principles continue. They mandate a public process, "a high degree of accountability" and "meaningful representation" of the four states, 13 recognized tribes, the federal government and "possibly" an ex officio representative from Canada.

Meantime, the Legislative Council on River Governance, composed of members of the Northwest's four state legislatures, met recently in Portland for what amounted to an update on governance/regionalization issues, such as whether it would be better to sell BPA or keep it as it is. Five representatives from each House and Senate heard briefings from Oregon's Eric Bloch, BPA administrator Judi Johansen, and Washington PUD Association executive director Steven Johnson. They also heard from river irrigators on alternatives to dam breaching.

No substantive action was taken. The group, which first began in response to the Three Sovereigns (now known as the Columbia Basin Forum) process, expects to meet again next April in Montana.

Elsewhere, the non-governmental group facilitated by consultant Jim Litchfield and Goldendale Aluminum's Brett Wilcox has continued its meetings.

Litchfield said the group is increasingly concerned that the attractive difference between BPA's cost-based rates and market rates "will be grabbed by someone" if the region does not act; that "if we continue to muddle through we will wake up one day and it will be gone."

Consequently, the group wants a feasibility study on a work plan for how to approach--that is, get better control over--the matters Wilcox outlined in his revised proposal: river governance, transmission and power marketing.

Litchfield is working on the study, which is aimed at configuring alternatives considering legal, economic and technical issues, in an effort to discern which alternatives will work and which ones will not. This month the group expects to decide whether it will go ahead with and approve a budget, estimated at $200,000, to develop the work plan. -Ben Tansey


The Federal Caucus last week had to halt mailings of the first edition of its eight-page, tabloid-size "Citizen Update" on "Salmon & Our Future" after the national office of the 4-H Club backed off a gentlemen's agreement BPA reached with the club's Oregon chapter allowing the Caucus to use the term "Four-H" to designate the famed "four factors that affect the life cycle of salmon"--Hydro, Habitat, Hatcheries and Harvest--as long as it spelled out the number "four."

After the Federal Caucus, which includes representation for the Department of Agriculture, released a draft four-H working paper several weeks ago, the club was reportedly miffed that much of the press coverage did not adhere to the spelling out of "four," and was not consoled when it was explained that the Caucus could not control the print media's rendering of the term.

As a result, the Caucus has decided it must drop the moniker, which it has used since February--and which has been used to help focus regional fish discussions for at least several years. It had to find a replacement fast, as the final draft of the paper formerly known as Four-H is due to be published Dec. 17. Late last week, it was decided the new term will be "All-H."

A spokeswoman at the national office of 4-H, which is run out of the Department of Agriculture--refused an opportunity to elaborate on the group's concern, or to acknowledge that a BPA employee who inquired about the matter had been told the penalties for using the name includes fines and jail time. However, the 4-H did tell NMFS it was concerned about its fund raising efforts back east after a potential donor asked if the club was connected to the fish issue.

The club jealously guards usage of the 4-H name and green clover logo, so much so that there is an act of Congress pertaining to its usage, as well as a 22-page booklet of official regulations and specific guidelines designed "to assist you in interpreting the regulations," according to the club's website. "It is our responsibility to protect and promote use of the 4-H name and emblem in order to reflect the educational goals and achievements of 4-H." -B.T.

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