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Official: Development of salmon-saving policies takes time

A river salmon. File photo

LEWISTON, Idaho (AP) — Idaho officials say it will take time for the governor’s Salmon Working Group to come up with policies in hopes of helping salmon recover.

Pressure on the group created by Gov. Brad Little is increasing, as wildlife managers report low numbers of salmon returning to the Snake River Basin for the third year in a row.

Idaho Office of Species Conservation director Scott Pugrud told the Lewiston Tribune that the working group can’t flush out policy positions in four or five meetings. Pugrud, who is one of the working group’s leaders, says that process could take up to two years.

Nearly all of the wild runs of salmon and steelhead in the Snake River Basin are protected under the Endangered Species Act. Returns of both wild and hatchery salmon and steelhead have been flagging in recent years.

The working group will meet Friday in Lewiston after going on a series of field trips in the Clearwater region Thursday.

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