Save Our wild Salmon: The Blog

Where we candidly and accurately react to and reflect on current affairs impacting wild salmon and salmon jobs.  And of course, never missing the opportunity to point out that those obsolete dams on the Lower Snake River need to go. Bloggers include SOS staff, with occassional guest entries.


Fish Experts Plan A Salmon Water Slide On Cracked Wanapum Dam

wanapum1The ongoing issue with the cracked Wanapum Dam in central Washington is now creating a problem for migrating salmon.

By Anna King, Northwest News Network | March 20, 2014

The drawdown of water between the Wanapum and the Rock Island dams to relieve pressure on the crack means the water levels are down about 25 feet at the base of both dams.

That leaves fish ladders high and dry.

Now, government fish scientists and engineers are trying to figure out just how to get adult salmon by both hulking concrete structures. At Wanapum, engineers plan to pump water into the fish ladder and create a sort of waterslide for salmon.
Russell Langshaw, a fisheries scientist with Grant County utility district that owns and operates Wanapum, says record numbers of fish are headed that way, so they have to get it figured out by mid-April.
“We have a lot of fish coming back this year, and we agree it’s an absolute necessity that we have safe and effective passage at both Wanapum and Rock Island dams.”
Langshaw says the smaller, juvenile fish are expected to be fine. They’re going downstream, and can move through the spillways and turbines.

Wenatchee World: Wanapum Dam spillway crack, showing algae, likely not new

wanapumThe 2-inch-thick underwater crack at Wanapum Dam, on the Columbia River near Vantage, Wash., extends horizontally across the upstream side of the 65-foot-wide pier called a monolith. It’s one of 12 monoliths on the spillway.

Christine Pratt, Wenatchee World
March 19, 2014
BEVERLY, Wash. – The large crack in part of the Wanapum Dam spillway may have been there long before divers detected and photographed it Feb. 27.

The crack, which measured about 2 inches thick by 65 feet wide when divers first observed it near the base and across the full width of one of the dam’s concrete support piers, had algae growing on the fracture, Dawn Woodward, director of hydro operations for the Ephrata-based utility, told the Wenatchee World’s editorial board last week.

Other parts of the fracture appeared clean, indicating that they may have been more recent.
“We see some evidence that the fracture began some time ago,” Woodward said. “The critical path is to determine the root cause."

The fracture is on the upriver side of the Number 4 concrete pier, also called a “monolith” by public utility district staffers. It’s between spillgates 3 and 4.


New York Times: A Reprieve for Bristol Bay

bristolbayMARCH 2, 2014

The Obama administration announced on Friday that it was putting the brakes on a massive gold and copper mine proposed for the headwaters of Alaska’s Bristol Bay while it decides whether to prohibit it permanently. This sounds like the death knell for a project, known as the Pebble Mine, that by any measure is an environmental disaster waiting to happen. The mine would gravely threaten one of the richest salmon fisheries in the world and disrupt a delicate marine environment prized by conservationists, native tribes and commercial fishing interests alike.

The administration has not made a final decision, and will take comment over the next few months. But construction cannot begin until it issues a permit. And judging by the announcement from Gina McCarthy, administrator of the Environmental Protection Agency, it would be astonishing if it allowed the project to go forward. “Extensive scientific study,” she said, “has given us ample reason to believe that the Pebble Mine would likely have significant and irreversible negative impacts on the Bristol Bay watershed and its abundant salmon fisheries.”

The project was designed by a Canadian-British mining consortium (the British partner has since pulled out). It claimed that the mine would add 1,000 permanent jobs to Alaska’s struggling economy while unearthing $300 billion worth of copper, gold and molybdenum. The project came close to defeat in a 2008 referendum until a push by Gov. Sarah Palin turned the tide in the mine’s favor.
Over time, the scientific evidence has turned decisively against the project. In two studies, including an assessment in January, the E.P.A. determined that even a carefully designed mining operation would exact a heavy toll on wildlife during construction, destroying more than 80 miles of spawning streams and extensive wetlands. The mine would also generate huge amounts of highly acidic wastes that, in the event of an accident, would pollute streams and wetlands and greatly harm Bristol Bay.

Given the science, this is not the hardest environmental decision the administration has faced or will face. It has yet to devise a legally sound plan to protect endangered salmon runs in the Columbia-Snake River Basin. And it must adjudicate between the needs of the endangered sage grouse and the oil industry, which occupy the same lands in the West. But on Bristol Bay, it is headed in just the right direction.

For more info:

Join SOS and Idaho River Adventures this July for a wild trip down the Middle Fork of the Salmon River!

ira6SOS is excited to announce a partnership with Idaho River Adventures in 2014 – 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, restore a healthy river 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 in the United States – a holy grail!

AND - when you sign up for this trip, owner 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 July 6, 2013.  The trip begins in Stanley, ID with a short drive to the put-in. 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: 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).

ira5The total cost is $2050 per participant:

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

For more information:

Dustin Aherin


Joseph Bogaard
Save Our Wild Salmon Coalition





Update: a not-so-new Federal Plan for Columbia/Snake salmon and steelhead

From the desk of Joseph Bogaard

January 22, 2014

Federal agencies in the Northwest released their (not so) new Federal Plan for Columbia-Snake River salmon and steelhead on Jan. 17. Four of the last five plans – dating back to the 1990s and including the last three in a row – have been rejected by the courts as inadequate and illegal. This latest plan, by the feds’ own admission, is barely distinguishable from the illegal 2008/2010 Plan it is meant to replace.

Needless to say, salmon and fishing advocates are very disappointed by the federal government’s latest effort. With this email, we want to deliver to you some highlights (lowlights?) from the feds’ plan and approach,  serve up a mash-up of excerpts to give you a flavor of the media coverage, and provide a few links to some of the recent news stories.
We’ll be in touch in the coming weeks with further details about the plan,  updates about the feds’ apparent decision to go back to court for yet another round of litigation (the plaintiffs – salmon and fishing advocates, the State of Oregon, and the Nez Perce Tribe – are studying the plan now, but no decisions have yet been made about future litigation), and how you can help.

Stay tuned and, as always, thanks very much for your support.

Joseph and the SOS Crew



New York Times Blog: The Law That Saved the Bald Eagle 

osborne.sockeye.redfish.webDecember 31, 2013, 2:35 pm


In this season of birthdays and holidays, on Saturday the environmental community rightly celebrated the 40th anniversary of the passage of one of the most ambitious of the Nixon era’s landmark environmental statutes: the Endangered Species Act. The act is at once the noblest of those statutes — aimed, in President Nixon’s words, at protecting “an irreplaceable part of our natural heritage — threatened wildlife”; and also the most controversial, detested by loggers, developers and other interests for elevating the needs of nature over the needs of commerce. Approved by huge margins in both chambers (the vote on the House was an astounding 355-4), the act would stand zero chance of passage in today’s poisoned political climate.


More Articles...

  1. Dec 29, 2013 - Is the Northwest regaining lost ground?
  2. Dec 05, 2013 - An enhanced spill experiment – costs and carbon impacts are modest and manageable.
  3. Nov 20, 2013 - Seattle Times: Elwha River sees largest run of Chinook in decades
  4. Oct 23, 2013 - B.C. Releases Draft Columbia River Treaty Recommendations
  5. Oct 01, 2013 - Action Alert - Salmon Need
  6. Sep 25, 2013 - LA Times: Big chinook run doesn't let Columbia dams off the hook, activists say
  7. Sep 12, 2013 - Lewiston Morning Tribune: Feds deal blow to Nez Perce Tribe, salmon advocates
  8. Sep 05, 2013 - SOS and Idaho River Adventures on the Middle Fork of the Salmon River
  9. Aug 31, 2013 - Announcing a leadership transition for SOS
  10. Aug 15, 2013 - Save Our wild Salmon submits comments on the Columbia River Treaty
  11. Jul 15, 2013 - Save the law that protects America's natural capital.
  12. Jul 15, 2013 - Seattle Times: Lamprey Eel - bringing back an ancient species
  13. Jun 07, 2013 - High Country News Book Review: Elwha, a story of today's West
  14. May 13, 2013 - All Scientists Are Saying Is…"Give (More) Spill A Chance."
  15. Apr 10, 2013 - Chicago Tribune: Interior Department recommends removal of Klamath River dams to aid salmon
  16. Mar 05, 2013 - Farewell to Fenton Roskelley - outdoor writer, sportsman, and conservationist
  17. Jan 30, 2013 - Change on the Fly
  18. Jan 17, 2013 - Save Our wild Salmon Coalition welcomes new BPA administrator Bill Drummond
  19. Jan 11, 2013 - In Gratitude
  20. Jan 08, 2013 - Thank you for a successful End-of-2012 Fund Drive!
  21. Dec 04, 2012 - Confusing sockeye hatcheries with sockeye recovery
  22. Nov 07, 2012 - NOAA, We Have a Problem
  23. Oct 25, 2012 - Thank you for 13 excellent years
  24. Oct 22, 2012 - Looking to the Future: New report challenges the Northwest’s aging dam infrastructure
  25. Oct 08, 2012 - Run Wild for Salmon athletes exceed their goal.
  26. Oct 04, 2012 - Senator Wyden Supports New Approach to Salmon Restoration
  27. Oct 01, 2012 - Feds Maintain Status Quo as Salmon Numbers Struggle
  28. Sep 27, 2012 - Author attempts world record run for salmon
  29. Sep 25, 2012 - “I’m Pro-Salmon, and I Vote”
  30. Sep 21, 2012 - A Baker's Dozen
  31. Sep 18, 2012 - Salmon, Coal, and the Columbia River’s Future
  32. Sep 14, 2012 - The salmon aren’t celebrating Bonneville’s 75th
  33. Sep 07, 2012 - Run Wild for Salmon - Meet the Runners
  34. Aug 30, 2012 - Boil On Columbia
  35. Aug 28, 2012 - 2012 Salmon and Steelhead Returns Still Poor
  36. Aug 14, 2012 - The Worst Dam Bill Ever
  37. Aug 06, 2012 - The Most Interesting Fish in the World
  38. Aug 03, 2012 - In Virginia: Dam Removal Helping Eels
  39. Aug 01, 2012 - Outdoor Retailer is here!
  40. Jul 25, 2012 - Outdoor Idaho Focuses on Idaho's Salmon
  41. Jul 23, 2012 - Run Wild for Salmon - Portland Marathon 2012
  42. Jul 19, 2012 - If you un-build it, the fish will come
  43. Jul 16, 2012 - Rivers Gone Wild! - Patagonia-style...
  44. Jul 13, 2012 - Roll On Columbia Roll On
  45. Jun 29, 2012 - Sockeye Numbers at Bonneville Dam are Encouraging
  46. Jun 28, 2012 - Saving Salmon to Save Orcas
  47. Jun 25, 2012 - Maine's Great Works and the Columbia-Snake Opportunity
  48. Jun 21, 2012 - Lamprey Summit Sets a Good Example
  49. Jun 20, 2012 - Victory: Highway to Hell Defeated
  50. May 21, 2012 - Book a river trip and help support SOS
  51. May 18, 2012 - TAKE ACTION: Visualize your support for salmon!
  52. May 15, 2012 - Solutions for one of America’s Most Endangered Rivers
  53. May 11, 2012 - Spill, Judge Redden, and the Need for a New Process
  54. May 03, 2012 - Mother's wants a seat at the table
  55. Apr 26, 2012 - Judge Redden Supports Dam Removal
  56. Mar 24, 2012 - Men's Journal Features LSR Dam Removal
  57. Mar 07, 2012 - Court-Ordered Spill Helps Salmon Returns and Jobs
  58. Feb 22, 2012 - HB 4101: Serious Issue, Bad Bill
  59. Feb 21, 2012 - Paul Fish: Salmon Super Hero
  60. Feb 15, 2012 - Showing NOAA Some Love for Valentine’s Day
  61. Feb 07, 2012 - Toxic Oil Spill on the Lower Snake; What Next?
  62. Feb 01, 2012 - Sea Change for Port of Lewiston?
  63. Jan 25, 2012 - Mascot Love at Outdoor Retailer
  64. Jan 19, 2012 - Osprey Packs to host Buster, Ice-P, Bigfoot, and Timmy O'Neil at Outdoor Retailer
  65. Jan 12, 2012 - Outside Sees Momentum for Dam Removal in 2012
  66. Jan 10, 2012 - Patagonia’s Salmon Super Heroes
  67. Jan 06, 2012 - Salmon…and bikinis?
Save Our wild Salmon is a diverse, nationwide coalition working together to restore wild salmon and steelhead to the rivers, streams and marine waters of the Pacific Northwest for the benefit of our region's ecology, economy and culture.



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