Cowlitz tribe seeks protection for Columbia River smelt

Vancouver, Washington (AP) 11-07

The Cowlitz tribe is asking the federal government to protect lower Columbia River smelt under the Endangered Species Act.

Tribal Chairman John Barnett says this is an opportunity to reconsider issues, such as the flow of water from dams, that affect the Cowlitz and Lewis rivers.

The National Marine Fisheries Service has 90 days to consider the tribe’s petition. Then it will have a year to study whether the fish should be listed as threatened or endangered.

A listing could affect dam operations and the state fishery for dip-netters.

The agency rejected a similar petition in 1999 for lack of information.