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Habitat Loss

Surface water provides habitat for wetland and riverine ecosystems which often include threatened or endangered species. A minimum flow is necessary to prevent loss of habitat, which in the case of the Pacific Salmon harvest can translate into economic losses. The Interior Department estimates that annual economic losses due to low streamflow in the Columbia River are in the tens of millions of dollars (Simon, 1998). Surface flow diversions in the Columbia basin have forced the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service to purchase nearly $10 million dollars worth of water rights over 5 years for downstream flow augmentation (USFWS, 2001).

Andy Wingo 2001-12-10