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Which fish will get to recolonize the Elwha River in the biggest U.S. dam removal projects? The complex debate over wild and hatchery fish.

Charles Pope, The Oregonian

WASHINGTON - Rewarding what it sees as good intentions and a promising future, the federal government has given steelhead in central Oregon special status that eases penalties for people who “accidentally” kill the endangered fish.

The decision by the National Marine Fisheries Service was hailed by civic and political leaders from the state and region who say new designation will accelerate a novel program to restore steelhead populations to the Deschutes Basin above Pelton Round Butte Dam.

Under the new rule, hatchery steelhead reintroduced to the Deschutes River and its tributaries will be classified as a ‚Äúnonessential, experimental‚ÄĚ population for the next 12 years.

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We’ve got some fishy features for you this week! Hear about hatchery science: breeding a better fish and get the latest from the recovering Elwha River. We’ve also got quick hit news headlines from around the region including stories about Oregon’s new energy plan, a rash in sea lion shootings, DIY herbicide testing and more. Extra podcast content at EarthFix.

The latest on removal of the dams on the Elwha River. From Ashley Ahearn and Katie Campbell. Full story on EarthFix: