Press Releases

Important updates from Save Our wild Salmon. To request interviews or additional information, please contact us.

Crosscut:  Feds' latest Columbia River plan: Play me an old-fashioned melody

DaggerFallsNews analysis: Hopes and vague promises didn't fly with Bush administration courts, or even two years ago. But here we go again.

By Daniel Jack Chasan

January 27, 2014.

Will the fifth time be the charm? Probably not.

The federal government has just come out with a new biological opinion (BiOp) on how to conduct the operations of its Columbia River system dams. The feds have been issuing Columbia River BiOps since Bill Clinton sat — and did whatever else he did — in the White House. And for all that time, the federal courts have been slapping them down.

The newest version was unveiled on January 17. It looks remarkably similar to the last one, which was prepared by the administration of George W. Bush and repackaged with little substantive change by Obama officials. United States District Judge James Redden rejected that Bush-Obama hybrid document in 2011.

If history provides a guide, this new BiOp will soon be the target of litigation by conservation groups and it, too, will eventually be tossed out by the courts. “Unfortunately,” said Save Our Wild Salmon executive director Joseph Bogaard in a press release, "this latest blueprint is virtually indistinguishable from the plan rejected by the district court in 2011."


For Immediate Release: December 16, 2013

University-based facilitators issue report on Columbia Basin salmon recovery issues; key findings include regionwide readiness for dialogue and durable solutions

Contact: Gilly Lyons, Save Our Wild Salmon: (503) 975.3202 or

On Monday afternoon, a team of facilitators from Portland State University and the University of Washington issued a report, commissioned earlier this year by NOAA Fisheries, regarding regional perspectives on long-term salmon recovery in the Columbia Basin, and on the potential for collaborative processes around shared salmon solutions. The report summarizes and synthesizes the themes and ideas that emerged from interviews with more than 200 stakeholders across the Northwest. Below is a statement by Save Our Wild Salmon executive director Joseph Bogaard on the final Assessment Report.

“We welcome this report and thank the Assessment Team at Oregon Consensus and the William D. Ruckelshaus Center for its hard work, expertise and professionalism in preparing it. The issue it addresses – the future of Columbia Basin salmon recovery – is one of tremendous importance and scope, affecting virtually every Northwest resident.
“This Assessment Report confirms that Northwest people are ready and eager to collaborate in pursuit of durable solutions to the linked challenges of salmon restoration, energy production, transportation and water use. Our Northwest governors, working alongside other elected leaders and federal agencies, are uniquely positioned to convene and lead such a collaboration.
“An authentic collaborative stakeholder process can end the harmful uncertainty facing river- and salmon-dependent businesses and communities, energy producers and consumers, and the survival of the Columbia Basin's iconic endangered wild salmon. The Assessment Report reflects the regionwide desire for enduring solutions on salmon, energy, agriculture and transportation; multi-party collaboration is our best opportunity for getting there.
“We urge our Northwest leaders to seize this opportunity to bring citizens together to solve one of the Columbia Basin’s greatest and longest-running challenges. And we urge our federal agencies – NOAA Fisheries, Bonneville Power Administration and others – to avoid yet another round of litigation by producing a legal and science-based salmon plan next month that lays the foundation for a successful stakeholder collaboration.”
Read the Columbia Basin Salmon Recovery Situation Assessment Report here:


News Release:   Northwest, British Columbia need to pull together to modernize the Columbia River Treaty

Monday, October 28, 2013

Center for Environmental Law & Policy  |  Oregon WaterWatch
Pacific Rivers Council  |  Save Our wild Salmon  |  Sierra Club
Northwest, British Columbia need to pull together to modernize the Columbia River Treaty
Treaty Power Group proposal would miss opportunities to protect ratepayers, communities, environment in a changing climate
Contacts -
• Pat Ford (SOS)  208.345-9067 
• Suzanne Skinner (CELP)  206.829-8366
• Greg Haller (Pacific Rivers) 503.228.3555  
• Rhett Lawrence (Sierra Club) 503.238-0442 x304

Portland – Today Northwest conservation groups called on the U.S. Department of State to continue to move forward with modernizing the Columbia River Treaty.   The Bonneville Power Administration and the Army Corps of Engineers have reviewed and gathered regional input on the Columbia River Treaty to advise the State Department on the treaty’s future after 2024. On Friday, October 25, the public comment period closed for the draft of the regional recommendation.


September 9, 2013

sos.logo1Federal agencies squander chance for progress on salmon

Gilly Lyons, Save Our Wild Salmon Coalition: (503) 975-3202
Liz Hamilton, Northwest Sportfishing Industry Association: (503) 704-1772
Glen Spain, Pacific Coast Federation of Fishermen’s Associations: (541) 689-2000

Federal agencies squander chance for progress on salmon

Another rehash of court-rejected plan could force more legal action and stall progress toward meaningful salmon protections

Portland, Ore. – Today, the Obama administration’s NOAA Fisheries released a “new” draft plan for protecting endangered Columbia and Snake River salmon that fails to address the issues that triggered federal-court rejection of the three previous plans. If finalized as is, this plan risks continued legal battles just as momentum is building for a broadly supported solutions process.

The government's final plan must be submitted by the end of the year to meet a court-ordered deadline.

“Unfortunately, the latest blueprint barely changes the plan rejected by the district court in 2011, despite that court’s clear direction that federal agencies must do more to safeguard imperiled salmon and steelhead,” said Save Our Wild Salmon executive director Joseph Bogaard.

Conservation and fishing groups, along with the State of Oregon and Nez Perce Tribe, have successfully challenged previous salmon plans for failing to protect one of the Northwest’s most iconic and treasured species. The groups expressed disappointment with the new draft plan, and about the missed opportunity to change course for salmon in the Columbia Basin.

“Today’s plan squanders three big opportunities: to help salmon, to boost salmon jobs, and to lay the foundation for a broadly-supported collaboration among fishermen, farmers, energy users, and others who want to work toward shared solutions,” said Glen Spain, Northwest regional director of the Pacific Coast Federation of Fishermen’s Associations. “This latest draft threatens to continue the deadlock over Columbia and Snake salmon by failing to include the stronger protections that our salmon need and that the law requires. The federal agencies really fall short here, but they still have a chance to get it right in the final plan.”

The opportunity for progress centers on salmon spill – water sent over the dams to help migrating young salmon reach the Pacific Ocean more safely. A basic level of spill has been in place under court order since 2006. Federal, state and Tribal scientists have studied the impacts of existing spill and concluded that it is boosting salmon survival. These scientists say expanding spill could help stabilize or maybe even recover some salmon stocks. But instead of considering this in its draft plan, NOAA Fisheries would allow dam operators to roll back current spill to even lower levels, rejecting sound science in the process.

“A 16-year study indicates that spill is the most effective immediate measure to increase salmon survival across their life-cycle,” said Northwest Sportfishing Industry Association executive director Liz Hamilton. “The court-ordered spill in place since 2006 has been good for juvenile salmon on their way to the ocean, producing more adult fish back to the river, which has in turn helped salmon businesses and the jobs they support. Based upon extensive analyses, we are convinced that salmon managers need to test higher levels of spill to further increase adult returns. Testing expanded spill is consistent with implementation of adaptive management and should be the centerpiece of any credible salmon plan. Instead, NOAA appears to be ignoring this important information and allowing for less spill during a critical time for Endangered Species Act-listed fish.”

Bill Arthur, deputy national field director for the Sierra Club, said the government’s “Groundhog Day” approach to Columbia salmon restoration is getting old.

“Rather than repackaging a failed and illegal plan and hoping for a different outcome, NOAA Fisheries should rethink and redo its approach in the final plan,” Arthur said. “Expanding spill and employing other effective measures will help salmon, help salmon economies, and give regional collaboration a running start – all of which will help the Northwest move away from gridlock and toward real solutions that work.”




                                    thermometer                     sos.logo1                                                     

 Summer 2013 – Hot Water Alert No. 7

70 Degrees Or More For 24-45 Straight Days in the Columbia and Snake Rivers

Memo to Northwest writers, reporters, editorialists, and columnists

As of September 1, river temperatures at all four lower Columbia River dams have been 70 degrees or above for 24 straight days. At the middle two of those dams – The Dalles and John Day – it’s been 39 straight days. At Ice Harbor Dam, the Snake River dam closest to the Columbia, it’s been 45 straight days.

The story is monotonous - and somber. Together the four lower Snake and four lower Columbia dams impound about 400 consecutive miles of river. Total 2013 readings of 70 degrees or more in these 400 miles are now nearly triple the number in 2012. Last year, the great bulk of 70-plus readings were in August. This year, 70-plus readings began in mid-July and have now stretched continuously into September.

This week’s specifics:

Forebay (above dam) Tailrace (below dam)

Bonneville Dam
Aug 26     71.2 F     71.2 F
Aug 27     71.1 F     71.2 F
Aug 28     71.5 F     71.5 F
Aug 29     71.7 F     71.8 F
Aug 30     72 F        72 F
Aug 31     72.3 F     72.3 F
Sept 1      72.3 F     72.3 F



                                    thermometer                     sos.logo1                                                     


Summer 2013 – Hot Water Alert No. 6

Highest river temperature of 2013 – 72.7 F at John Day Dam

Memo to Northwest writers, reporters, editorialists, and columnists – Aug. 27, 2013

At week’s end, August 25, river temperatures at John Day Dam have been above 72 degrees five straight days, and on August 22 reached 72.7 degrees, the highest reading of 2013. Temperatures at The Dalles and John Day Dams have been 70 F or higher for 32 straight days, and above 70 F at all four mainstem Columbia dams 17 straight days. At Ice Harbor Dam on the Snake River, temperatures have been above 70 F for 38 straight days. These month-long hot water temperatures are disrupting salmon and steelhead migrations. This week’s specifics:

Forebay reading (above dam), followed by Tailrace reading (below dam)

Bonneville Dam
Aug 19    71.8 F     71.9 F
Aug 20    71.6 F     71.6 F
Aug 21    71.4 F     71.5 F
Aug 22    71.4 F     71.4 F
Aug 23    71.3 F     71.3 F
Aug 24    71.4 F     71.4 F
Aug 25    71.4 F     71.3 F 

The Dalles Dam
Aug 19    71.7 F     71.8 F
Aug 20    71.5 F     71.7 F
Aug 21    71.9 F     71.9 F
Aug 22    72 F        72.1 F
Aug 23    72.1 F     72.1 F
Aug 24    71.8 F     71.9 F
Aug 25    71.7 F     71.7 F 

John Day Dam
Aug 19    71.7 F     71.7 F
Aug 20    71.8 F     71.9 F
Aug 21    72.5 F     72.4 F
Aug 22    72.7 F     72.5 F
Aug 23    72.4 F     72.3 F
Aug 24    72.3 F     72.3 F
Aug 25    72.3 F     72.3 F

McNary Dam (tailrace only)
Aug 19    71.4 F
Aug 20    71.5 F
Aug 21    71.5 F
Aug 22    71.3 F
Aug 23    71.2 F
Aug 24    70.8 F
Aug 25    70.4 F

Ice Harbor Dam
Aug 19    70.1 F     70.6 F
Aug 20    70.2 F     70.8 F
Aug 21    70.1 F     70.7 F
Aug 22    70.1 F     70.4 F
Aug 23    70.1 F     70.2 F
Aug 24    70 F        70.1 F
Aug 25    70.3 F (tailrace only)

On September 9, the federal government will release its fourth attempt since 2000 at a lawful plan to protect and help restore Columbia and Snake River salmon. The previous three plans have been ruled illegal in federal court. How the pending plan responds to rising river temperatures and other harmful effects of climate change is a main indicator of its scientific soundness and legality. Our weekly reports make clear that hot water is not a future problem for salmon and people. Hot water is a problem today.

Columbia-Snake temperatures are at: 

For more information, please contact:

Gilly Lyons, SOS policy director, at (503) 975-3202 or

More Articles...

  1. Aug 20, 2013 - Summer 2013 – Hot water alert No. 5 (2)
  2. Aug 16, 2013 - For Immediate Release: Corps Delay to Dredge Lower Snake Shows Need for More Study (2)
  3. Aug 05, 2013 - Summer 2013 – Hot water alert No. 3 (3)
  4. Aug 05, 2013 - Summer 2013 – Hot water alert No. 4 (2)
  5. Jul 30, 2013 - Summer 2013 – Hot water alert No. 2 (2)
  6. Jul 23, 2013 - Summer 2013 – Hot water alert No. 1 (2)
  7. Jul 22, 2013 - FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE: Five Myths about Freight Transportation on the Lower Snake River
  8. Jul 16, 2013 - Federal agencies tout “mission accomplished” as Columbia-Snake salmon populations struggle
  9. Mar 26, 2013 - Independent analyses challenge the economic viability and future of lower Snake River waterway
  10. Feb 07, 2013 - SOS Statement re: Rep. Hastings Letter about NOAA stakeholder process
  11. Dec 21, 2012 - Statement by Pat Ford: Dec. 20 FERC Ruling on BPA Wind Cut-offs
  12. Dec 12, 2012 - NOAA Initiates New Columbia Basin Stakeholder Assessment
  13. Sep 22, 2012 - Governor Kitzhaber Supports New Approach to Salmon Restoration
  14. Aug 16, 2012 - HR 6247 Threatens NW Economy and Environment
  15. Aug 02, 2012 - Little Progress for Salmon on Ruling Anniversary
  16. Jun 19, 2012 - Cong. Hastings Continues Attack on ESA, Salmon, and Jobs
  17. Jun 05, 2012 - Salmon Advocates Laud Governor Kitzhaber’s Draft 10-Year Energy Action Plan
  18. Apr 25, 2012 - Judge Redden Endorses Lower Snake Dam Removal
  19. Mar 27, 2012 - Protest Filed with FERC
  20. Mar 06, 2012 - BPA policy fails clean energy and salmon, ignores practical solutions
  21. Mar 02, 2012 - Court Ordered Spill Helps Salmon Returns
  22. Feb 27, 2012 - Oregon Legislators Urge Senator Merkley to Support Columbia Salmon Talks
  23. Feb 14, 2012 - Salmon and Wind Power Advocates Frustrated with BPA Proposal Portland
  24. Dec 07, 2011 - FERC Supports Wind Energy, Salmon in Bonneville Power Dispute
  25. Dec 06, 2011 - Press Statement: ESA Protects Jobs, Salmon
  26. Nov 23, 2011 - Advocates Applaud Judge Redden, Call for Salmon Solutions Table
  27. Nov 17, 2011 - Federal Agencies Refuse to Open Discussions about Salmon Restoration
  28. Nov 09, 2011 - Groups appeal for improvements in endangered salmon migration
  29. Oct 25, 2011 - Press Release: Feds failing to make progress on salmon restoration
  30. Oct 18, 2011 - BC salmon virus threatens US fisheries and jobs
  31. Sep 21, 2011 - Data Fails to Support BPA Wind Policy Decision for “Protecting Salmon”
  32. Aug 09, 2011 - 1000+ American businesses call on Obama Administration to create salmon jobs
  33. Aug 02, 2011 - PRESS RELEASE: Federal Judge Rules for Columbia and Snake River Salmon
  34. Jul 19, 2011 - Salmon at Stake in Wind Industry Battle with Federal Power Agency
  35. Jul 13, 2011 - Fishermen, Businesses, Salmon Groups Ask Court to Increase Endangered Salmon Survival
  36. Jun 27, 2011 - Western Division of American Fisheries Society Deems the Four Lower Snake River Dams a Threat to Wild Salmon and Steelhead Survival
  37. Jun 03, 2011 - Press Release: House Bill To Restore Science and Common Sense to Federal Salmon Efforts
  38. May 20, 2011 - Washington State Court Rules Against Salmon & Fishing Businesses
  39. May 16, 2011 - Press Release: New BPA policy will harm both salmon and wind power - May 13, 2011
  40. May 09, 2011 - Press Release: Pivotal salmon hearing in federal court
  41. May 04, 2011 - Press Release: Survival of salmon and salmon-dependent communities at stake in congressional hydropower hearing
  42. Mar 23, 2011 - PRESS RELEASE - Wild Salmon Rising: Two epic stories about the greatest salmon rivers on Earth… and fishing
  43. Mar 22, 2011 - PRESS RELEASE - March 22, 2011: Spill Announcement for Columbia and Snake Rivers Helps Salmon, Jobs
  44. Mar 21, 2011 - Bipartisan Inaccuracies: A Response to Reps. Hastings and DeFazio’s Misleading Opinion Piece in The Oregonian
  45. Jan 27, 2011 - PRESS RELEASE - State of the Salmon: Smoked or Soon to Be Extinct?
  46. Jan 05, 2011 - PRESS RELEASE: Snake River Basin Listed Among Top Conservation Priorities
  47. Oct 29, 2010 - PRESS RELEASE: Coalition documents Obama’s ghoulish salmon plan
  48. Aug 06, 2010 - PRESS RELEASE: Salmon returns welcomed, but wild fish recovery lags
  49. May 21, 2010 - Press Statement: Rep. McDermott Expresses Concern over 2010 Federal Salmon Plan for Columbia and Snake Rivers
  50. May 20, 2010 - Press Release - May 20th, 2010: Obama administration ignores climate change impacts, weakens Endangered Species Act in release of Northwest salmon plan
  51. May 20, 2010 - Press Release - May 20th, 2010: Obama administration ignores climate change impacts, weakens Endangered Species Act in release of Northwest salmon plan
  52. Apr 10, 2010 - Press Release, April 9th, 2010: ISAB Tells Obama Administration To Continue Spill to Save Salmon
  53. Apr 07, 2010 - Press Release, April 7th, 2010: Salmon advocates ask judge to reject spill curtailment
  54. Mar 08, 2010 - PRESS RELEASE - Groups to Washington State: Give Endangered Salmon a Fighting Chance by Changing Water Releases
  57. Oct 01, 2009 - Press Release: October 1st, 2009 - Fishermen, salmon stakeholders take to Capitol Hill
  58. Sep 15, 2009 - PRESS RELEASE - September 15th, 2009: Obama administration follows flawed Bush salmon plan despite scientific, economic and legal failings
  59. Aug 25, 2009 - Press Release: Northwest killer whale scientists and ocean explorer Jean-Michel Cousteau urge Locke, Lubchenco to abandon Bush-era Columbia-Snake salmon plan
  60. Aug 19, 2009 - Public Statement from Liz Hamilton, Executive Director of NSIA
  61. Aug 17, 2009 - Washington Outdoor and Fishing Businesses Ask Senators Murray and Cantwell for Leadership on Columbia-Snake Salmon Recovery
  62. Aug 11, 2009 - Press Release: August 11th, 2009
  63. Aug 10, 2009 - Press Release: Obama administration poised to adopt flawed Bush salmon plan despite scientific, economic and legal failings
  64. Apr 27, 2009 - Press Release - April 24, 2009: National Conservation Group letter to President Obama
  65. Apr 06, 2009 - Press Release: Lower Snake River ranks as 3rd Most Endangered Rivers
  66. Apr 03, 2009 - Press Release: Congressional Salmon Letter to Pres. Obama
  67. Mar 09, 2009 - Press Release: March 18th, 2009 - New study says: Northwest can meet climate and power challenges
  68. Mar 09, 2009 - Salmon Director letter to President Obama
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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