Numerous other authorities affect anadromous fish habitat in the Columbia Basin. Federal statutes including the Clean Water Act, the National Forest Management Act and state statutes governing forest practices, water rights, growth management and statewide land use planning, and shorelines management should play significant roles in the restoration of Columbia Basin anadromous fish. However, currently they are not being used in an effective integrated manner for this purpose.
Implementation of the Clean Water Act, for instance, suffers from lack of enforcement. Temperature and turbidity regularly exceed standards in salmon habitat east of the Cascades due to the lack of non-point source enforcement provisions. The use of the total maximum daily load (TMDL) requirement for waters that exceed standards is the only tool available for enforcement yet the states have been reluctant to use TMDL’s to address fish issues.
With regard to state statutes, decisions are often made at the local level at the request of resource users and developers without a view toward the cumulative impacts of decisions. With regard to water rights, in particular, instream flows are less than optimum, enforcement is inconsistent, and waste is rampant based upon a “use it or lose it” policy.
Achievement of basin-wide objectives for anadromous fish developed under CRFMP, FERC orders, the Pacific Salmon Treaty and the FWP is impossible without effective implementation of habitat protection laws at the watershed level. Yet federal and state enforcement has proven itself unable to achieve water quality goals. Watershed restoration is proposed by the tribes as a means of restoring anadromous fish by developing local buy-in and accountability for results consistent with federal and state laws and the treaties.