PORTLAND - The Obama administration says it will be more aggressive in protecting declining Pacific Northwest salmon runs and will study breaching some dams as a last resort in a long-awaited management plan.

The administration submitted the plan to a federal judge today in Portland. called a "biological opinion," it will guide hydroelectric dam operations and fish conservation programs in the Columbia Basin for the next decade.

U.S. District Judge James Redden rejected two earlier plans in 2000 and 2004, threatening at one point to take control of dam management.

The new plan would immediately boost mitigation programs to improve salmon survival, expand research and monitoring, and set specific biological "triggers" for even stronger measures.

But the Obama administration plan supported an earlier version offered by the Bush administration, even though Redden found portions of that plan inadequate.

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