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Managing the Columbia River: Instream Flows, Water Withdrawals, and Salmon Survival
ever, pronounced changes in salmon migratory behavior and lower survival rates are expected.
The issue of water use permitting decisions is controversial, as these decisions have important environmental, economic, and social implications. Instituting water use permit and extraction policies that vary according to season and river flows will require greater flexibility in these institutions than currently exists. This greater flexibility will be necessary, however, if risks to salmon survival are to be better managed and if salmon management is to move toward more adaptive regimes than used in the past. In addition to greater institutional flexibility, additional cooperation across the entire Columbia River basin appears necessary to better manage risks to salmon. For example, if the State of Washington and its water users exercise caution and restraint in considering the issue of additional water withdrawal permits for low-flow periods, the benefits of any measures will be decreased or negated if other entities in the basin do not adhere to similar practices. The following chapter reviews efforts at cooperation across the Columbia River basin and identifies some of the limits of and lessons from these efforts and what they bode for future cooperative regimes across the basin.