Judge OKs plan to boost spill at Columbia and Snake dams

PORTLAND, Ore. (AP) — A federal judge has signed off on a plan to spill more water over Columbia and Snake river dams to help protect salmon and steelhead.

U.S. District Court Judge Michael Simon ruled last spring that the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers must spill more water through spillways, rather than turbines. In his order, he told federal agencies to spend the next year studying how to release the right amount of water without creating unintended negative consequences.

He approved the plan Monday.

Conservationists say the extra water will help young salmon migrate out to sea.

The federal government has appealed Simon’s 2017 ruling to the 9th Circuit Court of Appeals. If his order is not overturned, it will go into effect at eight dams in early April and last until mid-June.