By JEFF BARNARD

Associated Press

GRANTS PASS, Ore. (AP) -- The Obama administration is asking a federal judge to let it stop spilling water over four Snake River dams this May and rely instead on barges to carry young salmon and steelhead downstream on their spring migration.

The NOAA Fisheries Service proposal filed in U.S. District Court in Portland argues that the science shows this is the best course for fish in low-water years like this one.

Salmon advocates counter that spilling water over the dams -- rather than running it through power-generating turbines -- has the proven track record.

Judge James Redden controls dam operations while he considers whether the latest federal plan for helping endangered salmon survive the dams complies with the Endangered Species Act.

Copyright 2010 The Associated Press.

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