PORTLAND, Ore. (CN) – Environmentalists sued the National Marine Fisheries Service for missing its 30-month deadline to develop a plan for threatened Coho salmon along the Oregon coast.
The Center for Biological Diversity says the Fisheries Service and Secretary of Commerce Penny Pritzker are required to develop a plan under the Endangered Species Act. They should have created a recovery plan within 2½ years of the May 2008 listing of the fish as threatened, the group says in its July 15 federal lawsuit.
For Coho to spawn, they need navigable passage from the ocean, where they spend most of their lives, back to the streams where they were born. And the Fisheries Service has recognized the severe degradation of Coho habitat across state, federal and privately held land, the complaint states.
The degradation has been exacerbated by forest management practice, lowland agriculture and urban development. Particularly destructive is the soil erosion and stream sedimentation and hot stream temperatures caused by logging, the center says.
The Fisheries Service recognized Oregon’s “weak protections” against timber harvests that could harm Coho, in a 2011 status review, but did nothing to strengthen them, according to the complaint.
Climate change has also increased water temperatures and reduced the water flow through the streams Coho need to survive, the center says. It demands that the service develop and implement a recovery plan for Oregon coast Coho.
Oregon Wild is a co-plaintiff. The environmental groups are represented by Christopher Winter with the Crag Law Center in Portland.
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