Environmental, fishing groups sue Oregon over coho salmon

It alleges the Department of Forestry is in violation of the U.S. Endangered Species Act.

By Gillian Flaccus / Associated Press

PORTLAND, Ore. — A coalition of environmental and fishing groups filed a federal lawsuit Wednesday against the state of Oregon, alleging logging in the state’s two largest forests is threatening the survival of coho salmon that breed in streams flowing through the coastal region.

The lawsuit filed in U.S. District Court in Eugene challenges the state’s logging policies in the Clatsop State Forest and the Tillamook State Forest.

It alleges the Oregon Department of Forestry is in violation of the U.S. Endangered Species Act because of the logging, and is illegally engaging in activities that result in the death of a threatened species.

The agency has not followed through on implementing a species management plan required under federal law that would help preserve salmon habitats despite logging and mitigate damage, court papers allege.

Ken Armstong, a spokesman for the Oregon Department of Forestry, said his department could not comment on pending litigation.

“Poor logging practices by the Oregon Department of Forestry is causing real harm to the Oregon coast coho and commercial fishing families who depend on these magnificent fish for their livelihoods,” Glen Spain said, the northwest regional director for the Pacific Coast Federation of Fishermen’s Associations and the Institute of Fisheries Resources, both plaintiffs in the case.

“Stronger protections for streams to protect the coho … is decades overdue.”

Together, the forests cover a half-million acres stretching from the Washington state border to the central Oregon coast.

About 2,500 miles of roads have been built in them to accommodate logging, according to court papers.

Logging activity increases the risk of landslides and of sediment falling into the streams where the salmon breed and grow to maturity before venturing to the Pacific Ocean.

Seven streams critical to salmon habitat flow through the Tillamook State Forest and several others run through the Clatsop State Forest, according to the lawsuit.

Between 1 million and 2 million salmon returned to their natal streams in this region — an area stretching from Seaside to Port Orford — in 1900.

The number of returning coho salmon has now dropped below 76,000, court papers say.

Other plaintiffs are the Center for Biological Diversity, the Native Fish Society and Cascadia Wildlands.

Talk to us

More in Northwest

Washington contact tracers making calls to help fight virus

People notified of their potential exposure will not be told the name of the infected person.

U-1 Miss HomeStreet driven by Jimmy Shane, left, and U-9 Sound Propeller Services Presents Les Schwab Tires driven by Andrew Tate race during the Seafair Hydroplane race Sunday afternoon in Seattle on August 7, 2016. (Kevin Clark / The Daily Herald)
Annual Seafair festival in Seattle canceled

Organizers of the longtime annual festival in Seattle announced its major events will not happen.

Baby gorilla badly injured in family skirmish at Seattle zoo

Kitoko was bitten on the head, likely by accident when another gorilla tried to bite his mothera.

2 new cases of Kawasaki-like disease in children in state

Symptoms include fever, rash, conjunctivitis, and swollen hands, feet, lymph nodes and lips.

‘Alarming’ number of motorcycle fatalities to start the year

Twenty-five motorcyclists have died so far this year throughout Washington state.

‘Hundreds of millions’ in bogus jobless benefits paid out

Washington state has been reported as the top target of a Nigerian fraud ring.

GOP lawmakers are getting tired of Inslee’s pandemic powers

Some want a special legislative session, saying “it is time for the legislative branch to intervene.”

State sues Trump over college students’ coronavirus aid

AG Ferguson says over 85,000 students who desperately need financial assistance have been excluded.

EPA says federal dams raise water temperature in Snake River

The warmer water can cause fish to stop their migrations and swim around aimlessly, as though lost.

Most Read