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Idaho Statesman: Columbia and Snake sockeye decimated by 2015’s warm rivers

April 13, 2016

By Rocky Barker

neo 003631-01Ninety-nine percent of the Snake River sockeye counted at Bonneville Dam on the Columbia River near Portland in 2015 died before reaching Idaho’s Sawtooth Valley.

Unprecedented and lethally high temperatures in the Columbia, Snake and even Salmon rivers killed all but a few dozen of Idaho’s 4,000 adult endangered sockeye that had returned to the Columbia last June and July. Most years, more than 50 percent of the adults that survive their early life in Redfish Lake, migrate to the Pacific as juveniles and spend two years in the ocean return to spawn.

That means the 2015 return would have been the highest in more than 50 years, had temperatures been normal.

The sockeye would have gone extinct in the 1990s if not for the successful captive broodstock program created after the fish was declared endangered in 1991.

Just 2 percent of the 475,000 Okanagon River sockeye seen at Bonneville returned to their spawning grounds in Washington. Most of both populations died in the Columbia beginning in June when the water warmed to above 68 degrees, the temperature at which salmon begin to die. It got up to 73 degrees in July.

No sockeye that reached the Columbia River after July 16 completed the trip to Idaho.

Elwha: A River Reborn – Book Release

Elwha.webSave Our wild Salmon is pleased to serve as a community co-sponsor for the Spring 2013 Book Tour of Elwha: A River Reborn by Seattle Times reporter Lynda V. Mapes - with a series of evening events in the Pacific Northwest.

With text and photos, Elwha examines the damming and restoration of the Elwha River originating in the wild, protected mountains of Olympic National Park on Washington State's Olympic Peninsula.
See further information below - with dates and locations. Please check back here regularly, as the information will be updated.

Featuring national award-winning science reporting from The Seattle Times and published by The Mountaineers Books, Elwha: A River Reborn is based on extensive interviews, field work, copious historical research and rare period images, and photography conducted over 16 years and continuing today. Getting cold, wet, and dirty, author Lynda Mapes and photographer Steve Ringman made countless trips into the backcountry of the mountains of the Olympic National Park with scientists, local residents, conservationists, and Elwha Tribal people to explore the Elwha River Valley from a range of perspectives.
Evening events will feature readings by Lynda Mapes, a slide show of Steve Ringman photographs, and a question-and-answer session. Books will be available for purchase and signing by the author.

The book can be purchased online at The Mountaineers Books website.

Events scheduled so far are listed below:
1. Port Book and News in Port Angeles, Friday, April  26, 7 pm.

2. Official Seattle Launch at the Mountaineers on Wednesday, May 8, 7:30 pm.
The Mountaineers - 7700 Sand Point Way NE in Seattle
Limited parking is available. Beer and wine available with donation.
(free, with tickets required)
3. South Sound Native Plant Society, Monday, May 13th.

4. Village Books in Bellingham, Wednesday, May 22, 7 pm (not on website yet)

5. Vashon-Maury Island Land Trust Building on Vashon Island, May 23, 7 pm (not on website yet)

6. Third Place Books in Lake Forest Park June 5, 7 pm (not on website yet)

7. Elliott Bay at Seattle Public Library June 11, 7 pm (not on website yet)

8. Tumwater Library on Thursday, June 18, 6-7 pm.


As always, thank you for your interest and support!

Joseph and Save Our wild Salmon Team
206-286-4455, x103

Join SOS this August for a wild trip down the Middle Fork of the Salmon River!

raft.beach.jpgSOS is excited to announce a partnership with Idaho River Adventures in 2013 – and to invite you to join a trip this summer down the fabled Middle Fork of the Salmon River in central Idaho. The Middle Fork is one of the original eight rivers designated as Wild under the Wild and Scenic Rivers Act of 1968. It winds through the heart of the Lower 48’s largest continuous wilderness area - the Frank Church River of No Return. 

Central Idaho is the historic home of millions of wild salmon and steelhead. Today, largely as a result of downstream dams on the lower Snake, only a small number these fish return each year. SOS is working with others to remove these four dams and reconnect wild salmon and steelhead with the largest, highest, wildest, and best protected chunk of salmon and steelhead habitat remaining in the Lower 48.

For river rats everywhere, the Middle Fork is among the most treasured river trips anywhere in the United States – a holy grail!

AND - when you sign up for this trip, owner (and great guy and great friend) Dustin Aherin will donate $400 of the trip cost to SOS!

Learn more about Dustin and Idaho River Adventures here

Here are the Save Our wild Salmon/Middle Fork Trip details: 6 days and 5 nights on the Middle Fork of the Salmon River launching August 23, 2013.  The trip begins in Stanley, ID with a 45-min plane ride to the put-in (as part of this special package, IRA will cover this cost).  The trip will end six days later with a 1.5 hour bus ride from the take-out to the town of Salmon, ID. 

IRA provides an all-inclusive vacation with everything provided for.  IRA supplies sleeping bags, full-sized sleeping pads, tents, dining tables and chairs, all food from lunch on Day 1 to lunch on Day 6.  IRA uses a large cargo-hauling raft called a sweep boat that carries all of the camping gear. It runs ahead of the main group each day to set up the evening camp including tents. The IRA staff prepare excellent made-from-scratch meals using as much locally-sourced foods as possible - cooking over an open fire, in Dutch ovens and with propane. 

This trip is great for people of all experience levels. The Middle Fork is a fantastic place to hike and visit historic sights. Fishing is fantastic: the Middle Fork is a Blue Ribbon fishery with world class dry fly fishing for native West slope Cutthroat Trout; IRA will provide the flies and rod/reel as necessary. Or you can relax, and enjoy the company of family/friends that are traveling with you and new friends you will make while on the trip. Kids as young as 8 are more than welcome (though younger experienced campers are welcome too).

raft.people.jpgThe total cost is $1950 per participant:

  • $400 of which you donate directly to SOS (100% tax-deductible);
  • $300 deposit is due soon to reserve each space; and
  • $1250 balance due May 15th. 

For more information:

Dustin Aherin

Joseph Bogaard
Save Our Wild Salmon Coalition
206-286-4455, x103











Sawtooth Salmon Festival - Aug 25, 2012

Meet Lonesome Larry and fall in love with the miracle of wild salmon this summer at the Sawtooth Salmon Festival, an annual celebration hosted by Idaho Rivers United. Held Saturday, August 25 at the Stanley Interpretive and Historical Association from 10 am to 9 pm, this year’s festival marks the special 20th anniversary of Lonesome Larry’s return home, with elevated celebratory performances and Larry appearances.

Enjoy live music from Ned Evett, Dan Costello and more, as well as live salmon tours, vendor booths, fun activities and a delicious wild salmon dinner.

Get all the details about this summer’s party for Larry and his wild-loving species at the Sawtooth Salmon Festival website.

We're gearing up for some exciting days: Outdoor Retailer is here!


The Outdoor Retailer Market is our chance to connect with all of the amazing outdoor recreation business allies we have gained over the years. These business leaders understand full well the economic value of healthy habitat, healthy salmon populations, and outdoor recreation.

For this year's summer market we are thrilled to link up with three great companies:  Alite, Boreas, and Light and Motion.  They're working on an awesome T-shirt to benefit Save Our Wild Salmon and we're gonna party down on Friday at the their booth (#39205) from 4pm - close. If you are in Salt Lake City please join us!

What: SOS Benefit throwdown hosted by Alite, Boreas, and Light and Motion.

When: Friday, August 5 from 4pm until show close. 

Where: Booth #39205 - Alite - Boreas - Light and Motion

Salmon: Running the Gauntlet - San Francisco - June 2

Download this flyer here.


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