The U.S. District judge from who’s shaped salmon and hydropower policy on the Columbia River for more than a decade is stepping down from the case.
Judge James Redden, whose court is in Portland, described his plans in a brief letter Tuesday to attorneys in the legal fight over the federal government’s fish management plan. A new judge will be appointed to take over the case with enough time to review the history before 2014, when the next management plan for salmon and steelhead is due to be filed.
Redden who took over from Judge Malcolm Marsh in 2000, has heavily influenced federal policy for recovering threatened and endangered salmon and steelhead in the Columbia and Snake rivers. Redden struck down four salmon and steelhead management plans during his time on the bench.
Participants in the legal jousting over those plans have called Redden a hands-on jurist. That’s underscored by the letter he issued earlier this year giving an outline of what he wanted from the most recent plan he ultimately struck down in August.
Redden ordered Bonneville Power Administration to allow more water to spill over the eight federal dams during migration seasons to help young fish migrate to the Pacific Ocean before they return to spawn in their native streams.
“Judge Redden has done more for wild salmon than three presidents, five federal agencies and 10 Congresses combined.” says Idaho Rivers United Executive Director Bill Sedivy. “By demanding that federal salmon managers follow sound science and the law, he has been a tremendous force in slowing the extinction of wild salmon in Idaho and the Northwest.”
Doug Johnson, a BPA spokesman, says he appreciates Redden’s call for collaboration. Johnson says BPA will continue efforts prescribed by the judge to help salmon and steelhead recovery in the Northwest.
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