Smelt listed as threatened

The Obama administration adds Pacific smelt under the Endangered Species Act.

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Once an abundant species in local rivers, Pacific smelt has been listed as threatened under the Endangered Species Act by the Obama adminstration.

The National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration says smelt are now at “moderate risk of extinction,” with numbers at or near historic lows.

The smelt decision doesn’t pack the drama or economic wallop of the salmon listings. But it will affect river habitat plans, fishing seasons, water flow from dams and permits for dredging and other work in and around Northwest rivers.

It also will force the government to take the small forage fish into account when regulating smelt bycatch in the ocean shrimp fleet.

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