BOISE-- The federal agencies responsible for making Columbia Basin hydroelectric dams safer for salmon say they're doing a good job, helping more young fish survive their migration downstream, and producing higher returns among threatened and endangered runs.
The Bonneville Power Administration, U.S. Army Corps of Engineers and U.S. Bureau of Reclamation released a draft evaluation Thursday of their efforts since 2008 to implement the improvements laid out by the NOAA Fisheries Service.
But conservation groups say despite spending $600 million a year, the agencies are no closer to getting 13 runs of salmon and steelhead off the threatened and endangered species lists.
The groups Save our Wild Salmon and Earthjustice say the single most effective measure is spilling more water over dams, rather than running it through turbines. They contend that's not being done enough.