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February 9, 2012 at 2:38 PM

Suit filed to block Elwha River hatchery

Four conservation groups filed suit today against the federal government and the Lower Elwha Klallam Tribe, seeking to block a fish hatchery program planned to help restock the Elwha River as two dams are removed.

The groups argue that the hatchery plan violates the Endangered Species Act and undermines the recovery of native salmon, according to a news release.

The hatchery plan calls for release of about four million juvenile salmon into the Elwha River each year, including during a five-year fishing moratorium. The lawsuit argues, among other points, that those releases will hamper wild fish recovery.

Wild Fish Conservancy, The Conservation Angler, the Federation of Fly Fishers Steelhead Committee, and the Wild Steelhead Coalition have brought the suit against the Olympic National Park, NOAA Fisheries Service, the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service, and representatives of the tribe.

The removal of the Elwha and Glines Canyon dams, starting last summer, will open up 70 miles of fish habitat.

Comments | More in General news | Topics: Elwha, hatchery, lawsuit

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