Improving Relations & Helping Fish

Improving Relations & Helping Fish

Improving Relations & Helping Fish plus Food Forethought. I'm Greg Martin with today's Northwest Report.

EPA Administrator Gina McCarthy says she wants to improve relations with the ag community. McCarthy told Senators at her confirmation hearing last year that she'd work to improve relations with producers. Last week - she told a hearing on EPA's latest rulemaking effort there's a distrust between agriculture and EPA. But she stresses she is trying to change that - especially with the agency's rollout of a proposed new Clean Water Act rule that keeps many farm exemptions and adds new ones.

MCCARTHY: We thought that we were doing something really good and if in the end people don't think it's the right strategy we can certainly rethink this cause it is a proposed rule and I'm there tomorrow to ask questions and see how people are thinking about it. And what we offered to do was instead of just getting together every once in a while we'd develop some workshops and would look at specific areas of concern so that all the issues could be on the table and we could figure out how to collaborate more effectively on this. I really want this rule to work for the agriculture community.

Washington's Wanapum Dam issue has had officials scrambling to find a solution for the crack that has caused a drawdown in the level of the Columbia River. That lower water level created a problem for migrating salmon heading to their spawning grounds. Officials have spent some $1.5 million dollars to extend the fish ladders. Also officials are beginning to trap some of the salmon and trucking them around the dam.

Now with today's Food Forethought, here's Lacy Gray.

Honey bee health remains a top priority for the USDA and the EPA. Both agencies have reported that there is not any one "smoking gun" in the plight of the honey bee. In fact, multiple factors are noted as playing a role in the decline of honey bee numbers, including parasites and disease, poor nutrition, genetics, and yes, pesticide exposure. In February the USDA announced that its Natural Resources Conservation Service will provide nearly $3 million in technical and financial assistance for interested farmers and ranchers to help improve the health of bees. Steps have already been taken to improve the plight of the honey bee through the cooperation of farmers around the country who have incorporated bee habitat into their land through numerous conservation and environmental programs. Farmers are well aware that honey bees are the major crop pollinator in the United States and are just as eager to help protect this important little insect. Farmers know that the success of their business relies on the survival of the honey bee.

Thanks Lacy. That's today's Northwest Report. I'm Greg Martin on the Ag Information Network.

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