This article examines whether the Alsea decision's definition of species is consistent with the Endangered Species Act by examining the language of the ESA and Congressional intent. This article then examines some of the implications of the Alsea decision in the Northwest. Counting hatchery salmon would likely result in the removal of most salmon ESUs from the endangered or threatened list, ending many of the costly restrictions imposed by the ESA. In particular, Part I discusses the ESA provisions and congressional intent regarding the definition of species that is pertinent to understanding Alsea. Part II describes some of the effects of salmon listings in the Northwest. Part III describes the Alsea case, including the history of the Oregon coastal coho ESU listing and the procedural history of the case. Part IV analyzes the court's legal reasoning in Alsea. Finally, Part V considers the implications of the case and the potential structure and outcome of the current NMFS's policy review.
Leslie Marshall Lewallen and Russell C. Brooks, Alsea Valley Alliance v. Evans and the Meaning of "Species" Under the Endangered Species Act: A Return to Congressional Intent, 25 SEATTLE U. L. REV. 731 (2002).