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Nez Perce Tribe of Idaho

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Despite opposition from the tribe and the state, Dworshak Dam ramped up to full powerhouse capacity July 7 in what has become an annual effort to cool the lower Snake River for migrating salmon. The idea is to help push threatened fall chinook salmon toward the Pacific Ocean by releasing 48-degree water from Dworshak Reservoir. Rudd Turner, a biologist at the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers Reservoir Control Center in Portland, Ore., said flow likely would level off and remain near 10,000 cfs through August. The tribe wanted to wait until July 9 to begin the drawdown, which started July 2, so young fall chinook in the Clearwater River would have more time to feed and grow in the warmer, more productive water. The state wanted the reservoir full through the holiday so boaters and anglers would be greeted with dropping water levels and muddy banks. Both the state and the tribe would like some water saved for release in September to induce adult steelhead to migrate quickly upriver. Temperatures above 68 degrees are considered harmful to salmon and steelhead. Low water flows and seasonally high temperatures are expected to hurt both juvenile and adult salmon and steelhead passing through the Snake River this year.

The tribe expects a grant of nearly $730,000 from the Economic Development Administration for a bio-control center, to grow beneficial insects that eat noxious weeds such as the Eurasian yellow star thistle which is overtaking much of the West. As depressed timber and farm sectors - all of which affect employment for tribal members - stagger rural Idaho, the state is receiving huge amounts of federal money for economic development. "The state of Idaho has never seen this kind of grant money ... ," said Lindsay Nothern, spokesman for Republican Sen. Michael Crapo who has tried to get more federal money into Idaho's sparsely populated areas from that agency and through the Trade Adjustment Act and the Department of Agriculture's rural development fund. Salmon attracted a $1.5 million grant for a business incubator to add 140 jobs. Glenns Ferry is expected to get $1.3 million for a water treatment facility. Mackay could receive $960,000 for a small industrial park and St. Anthony is expected to get $770,000 for an employment training center. Konkolville Lumber Co. at Orofino picked up a $30,000 rural development grant from the USDA. It goes to gauging the success of the mill processing small-diameter logs, which generates electricity through a wood-fired boiler.