Please Take Action:
Columbia/Snake salmon need a lawful, science-based plan!
MAKE YOUR VOICE HEARD BEFORE THE OCT. 7 COMMENT DEADLINE!
Please submit your 'official comment' to the Obama Administration re: its new Draft Salmon Plan for Columbia and Snake River wild salmon and steelhead. The comment deadline is Monday, Oct. 7.
(1) Copy and paste NOAA-Fisheries' email address (below) into a new email message, and
(2) Copy and paste our suggested 'subject line' and 'comment letter' (also below) into the body of that email message.
BACKGROUND: On September 9, federal agencies released a Draft Plan for endangered wild salmon and steelhead populations in Columbia and Snake Rivers. Unfortunately for the Pacific Northwest's iconic fish, fishing communities, and our rivers, the 'new' plan is virtually identical to the previous plan rejected by a federal judge in 2011 as inadequate and illegal. In fact, the latest draft would actually allow for a rollback of existing salmon protections - including "salmon spill," a highly effective measure where some water is sent over federal dams in the spring and summer - delivering young out-migrating salmon to the ocean more quickly and safely.
By repeating the mistakes of the previous three illegal plans (that's right - three [!] consecutive plans have been ruled illegal over the past decade; this latest document is a draft of a fourth attempt), the federal agencies are squandering a huge opportunity to help endangered salmon now, provide a much-needed boost to the fishing economy, produce a legally- and scientifically-sound plan that gets the region out of the courtroom, and increases momentum for a regional collaboration that can develop effective, long-term shared solutions for Northwest communities, businesses, and salmon.
The good news here: this is still a DRAFT plan; the final is expected in December. We have a chance to fix this plan and begin to put salmon restoration on track.
PLEASE TAKE ACTION BELOW! Contact NOAA-Fisheries - urge it to strengthen their Draft Plan by including provisions such as expanded spill that will provide endangered salmon and steelhead the help they need in near-term, and increase momentum for a regional collaboration.
Here's how to submit your 'official comment':
(2) COPY/PASTE SUBJECT: Columbia/Snake salmon need a lawful,
(3) COPY/PASTE LETTER to NOAA-FISHERIES:
Mr. William Stelle, Northwest Regional Administrator
7600 Sand Point Way Northeast
Seattle, WA 98115
Dear Mr. Stelle,
I am writing to express my deep disappointment about the flawed and inadequate Draft Columbia-Snake Salmon Plan, and to ask that the final version be significantly strengthened before it is released at the end of this year. An effective, lawful and science-based plan will provide much-needed help to imperiled salmon and steelhead in the near-term and - if we can break out of the current rut of litigation - help build additional momentum for a regional collaboration to craft shared solutions for the connected salmon, energy and transportation challenges we face in the Columbia Basin and Northwest.
Wild salmon and steelhead represent priceless cultural, economic, recreational and ecological treasures for the people of the Pacific Northwest and nation. In the Columbia Basin, however, thirteen stocks of wild salmon and steelhead remain at risk of extinction due in large part to the impacts of the federal dams on the Columbia and Snake Rivers - a risk that's further compounded by a long series of expensive, illegal plans produced by NOAA, in partnership with Bonneville Power Administration and other federal agencies.
I am especially concerned that your latest draft salmon plan is virtually indistinguishable from earlier versions - despite clear direction from a federal court to consider new and stronger measures - and even rolls back existing salmon protections. I urge NOAA to make changes that improve and strengthen the plan in its final form.
"Salmon spill" - sending water and fish over the tops of dams to help them reach the ocean more quickly and safely - is one of our most effective measures in the near-term to help salmon and steelhead survive the lethal dams and reservoirs in the Columbia Basin. Since 2006, the federal agencies have been required under court order to spill water and the results
are undeniable. This program has improved the survival of young smolts migrating to the ocean and increased the numbers of adult salmon that return.
Regional state, Tribal, and federal salmon scientists have recently determined that additional spill in the spring and summer months could significantly increase salmon survival, which could in turn be sufficient to begin to restore at least some Columbia River stocks. In contrast to this emerging scientific consensus, NOAA's draft plan would allow dam operators to eliminate spill in August and curtail it in May. In its failure to address the concerns of the court, this plan squanders an opportunity to provide near-term help for endangered salmon and steelhead, move beyond the courtroom, and build additional momentum for a regional collaboration that can help resolve these issues over the long-term.
I ask that you change course and submit an effective, lawful, science-based plan that meets the near-term needs of salmon and steelhead, particularly through inclusion of an expanded spill program, and lays the groundwork for the regional collaboration we need to address the linked challenges that face salmon, energy and transportation in the Columbia-Snake Basin.
Thank you for your consideration of my comments.
Your Name and Address