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Nez Perce Tribeof Idaho

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Meager January precipitation added to concerns of a dry summer with low reservoir levels with less water for migrating salmon and steelhead, sub-par water recreation at reservoirs and a tight power supply. The Clearwater Basin saw just 37 percent of its normal snow and rainfall. With poor snowfall in November and December, that equaled the third-lowest snowpack since record-keeping began 40 years ago. The U.S. Army Corps of Engineers is drafting water from Dworshak Reservoir to meet power demands in the Northwest and California. The tribe is among those calling for water-saving measures at Dworshak, urging that salmon be considered during discussions about power. "We are very concerned about the possibility of rolling blackouts here in the Northwest,'' said Chairman Samuel N. Penney. "But we want to ensure that any decision adequately and equitably protects salmon and their habitat.'' Penney said the federal government should be banking water at Dworshak to benefit fish and provide power generation during the summer. Representatives from the Bonneville Power Administration and Avista Corp. say there is no danger of insufficient power generation or rolling blackouts in the Northwest. The Nez Perce and other tribes have filed a joint response opposing the latest request by scientists to obtain data from the Kennewick Man case. They urge Judge John Jelderks in the U.S. District Court of Oregon to issue a protective order to ensure that use of images and information provided by the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers be limited to litigation only. "Some scientists have already exploited images of the Ancient One for their own purposes,'' said Chairman Samuel N. Penney. The motion filed by the scientists asks for raw computer data. "The raw data can be used to create and generate an unlimited number of new images, which can be altered and distorted,'' said Nez Perce tribal attorney David Cummings. Last year, the Corps of Engineers decided to return the remains of the Kennewick Man to the tribes, which include the Nez Perce, Umatilla, Colville and Yakama.