sos.logo1In this issue:

(1) Army Corps Dredging Plan flushes more money down the river

(2) Commentary: This year's "record" salmon returns in the Columbia Basin

(3) The 1st Annual "Wild Rivers Night" in Seattle

(4) The Northwest DamNation Film Tour - back on the road!

(5) Columbia River Treaty: Report from D.C.

(6) Salmon Mean Business: "Thanks!" to our Wild Rivers Night Sponsors!


(1) Army Corps Dredging Plan flushes more money down the river

PortofLewistonLast month the Army Corps of Engineers released their final proposal for dealing with the sediment piling up behind the four lower Snake River dams.  The Corps is expected to formally adopt its plan this month in hopes of getting the green light to dredge the lower Snake this winter.  

Thousands of citizens and regional conservation and fishing groups submitted comments to the Corps on its Lower Snake River Sediment Management Final Environmental Impact Statement (FEIS), urging the agency to do as the law requires: honestly assess the significant economic costs of dredging , consider all reasonable alternatives including dam removal and justify the costs of keeping the four dams in place.  Read our comments here.

The Corps’ plan is expensive for taxpayers and harmful to salmon.  Worst of all, it merely kicks the can down the road rather than offer any real long-term plans to deal with the accumulating sediment behind the lower Snake River dams.  With the reservoir behind Lower Granite dam 50 percent full of sediment and the existing levees increasingly insufficient to protect Lewiston, ID and Clarkston, WA from flooding, the dams face serious problems requiring serious solutions, not stopgap measures.  

With sediment piling up in the millions of cubic yards, continual expensive dredging will not solve this problem while it costs taxpayers millions of dollars a year.  There are only two real solutions:  (1) the highly unpopular proposal to raise the levees protecting the river towns or (2) removal of the lower Snake River dams.  Neither solution was included in the FEIS alternatives, although the agency notes that raising levees will likely be required down the road.  

Next steps: The Corps is expected to release it’s final plan (Record of Decision) any day.  SOS and allies will review the final plan to determine if it passes legal muster.  Meanwhile, we will continue to push the Corps to assess all options and push for a more affordable and common sense plan— one that includes lower Snake River dam removal.


 (2) Commentary: This year's "record" salmon returns in the Columbia Basin

2salmonballet.webFrom the desk of Sam Mace.

The Northwest enjoyed a bountiful fishing season this fall with big returns of fall chinook and sockeye benefiting commercial, sport and tribal fishermen.   The season has reminded Northwest people of the value that salmon bring to our communities and economies - pumping millions of dollars into the region and reminding us of what it means to live in the Northwest.   

But while we should celebrate this year's returns, we must not forget that many wild salmon runs are still imperiled and much work remains to be done. Not all salmon populations in the Columbia and Snake rivers are faring as well.

These good runs from these past several years are the result of two main factors.  First, recent good ocean conditions and good snowpack have helped boost salmon and steelhead runs in the Columbia Basin.  The second factor - additional and longer spill at Columbia and Snake river dams, were fought for and secured in court by fishing and conservation groups, the State of Oregon and the Nez Perce Tribe.

The runs this year are the progeny of parents and grandparents that benefited from spill ordered by the court each and every year since 2006.  Better river conditions combined with help from Mother Nature (good snowpack, good ocean conditions) have given the Northwest a glimpse of what robust, sustained runs mean to our people, economies, and ecosystems.  

Despite the abundant runs of Columbia River fall chinook and sockeye this year, many imperiled runs remain at risk of extinction.  Thirteen stocks of wild salmon and steelhead are listed under the Endangered Species Act, and wild Snake River spring/summer chinook and sockeye remain especially in peril - far from the population levels needed for true recovery.

We have an enormous opportunity to build on the success of spill and the leg up that Mother Nature has recently provided. Unfortunately, NOAA, BPA, and other agencies continue to balk at maintaining and increasing the spill that has recently helped salmon runs enormously.  Rather than joining scientists in support of an expansion of spill, these agencies continue their efforts to reduce spill while insisting on spending millions of dollars on measures with very little impact.

It’s time for the federal agencies to quit patting themselves on the back for successes for which they are not responsible and instead begin building on the improved runs. Citizens and elected leaders must urge the agencies to support and increase spill at the dams, as well as look at other necessary measures - including lower Snake River dam removal - that can truly bring our salmon back to healthy, harvestable numbers throughout the basin that can support jobs, businesses and towns (and ecosystems) throughout the Northwest.


 

wildriveraudience.copy(3) The 1st Annual Wild Rivers Night in Seattle:

Save Our wild Salmon joined forces with other organizations, businesses, and more than 200 good people for a very successful 1st Annual Wild Rivers Night in Seattle. We celebrated Washington State’s rivers - featuring short films, stunning photography, compelling information, humorous stories, a silent auction, socializing, and fun. And we talked about important efforts underway today to protect and restore healthy, free-flowing, salmon and steelhead abundant rivers and streams across Washington State. Our own Joseph Bogaard spoke on behalf of restoring the lower Snake River and its endangered wild salmon and steelhead. Other speaker-experts included SOS members: Tom O’Keefe (American Whitewater), Wendy McDermott (American Rivers), Tom Uniak (Washington Wild), and Graham Taylor (Sierra Club).

Participating rafting businesses included: Wildwater River Guides and Northwest Rafting Company.

manatbooth copyThanks to all you joined us and those helped make it happen – especially Wendy McDermott of American Rivers and Amy Terai of Filson!

The evening was skillfully emceed by Professor David Montgomery, UW Professor of Earth and Space Sciences and MacArthur Foundation Genius. Professor Montgomery is the renowned author of eight books, including King of Fish, and winner of the Washington State Book Award.

Special thanks to Filson for hosting all of us in their wonderful new facility; to blueacre seafood for the delicious food; to Troon Vineyards and Waterbrook Wines and Sierra Nevada Brewing for the excellent libations.

 

 


 (4) DamNation – SOS' Northwest Tour continues:

With the arrival of fall, the SOS is re-starting cour Northwest tour hosting DamNation screenings in Washington, Idaho, and Oregon with our conservation, fishing and business partners. Go here to view an updated schedule for upcoming Northwest screenings.
And if you are not in the Northwest, don’t despair. DamNation is screening across the country and you can check out the schedule here.

Finally, if still you can’t find a location to view it on the big screen (best on the big screen!), you can rent it online here.

Recent praise for DamNation:

"A quick, smart doc on the natural havoc dams cause."
-    The Village Voice (Read the full story here)

"DamNation is a movie that matters...With a blend of history, face-melting nature cinematography, and a dash of Edward Abbey–style criminal mischief, DamNation lays bare this truth in a way that is educational, entertaining, and, perhaps most importantly, inspirational."
 - The Santa Barbara Independent (Read the full story here)

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(5) Columbia River Treaty - Report from D.C.

In case you missed the September report on our trip to Washington D.C. to meet with Administration officials and members of Congress, you can find it here.

And here are two excellent articles from High Country News and Al Jazeera highlighting recent Treaty developments and activities by Columbia Basin Tribes and First Nation's, faith communities, and conservation and fishing advocates to highlight critical issues of ecosystem health, justice, and climate.

High Country News: Watershed Moment - The U.S. and Canada prepare to renegotiate the Columbia River Treaty (Oct. 6 2014)

Al Jazeera America: Salmon people pray for sacred fish to return to historic home (Oct. 5 2014)


 (6) Salmon Mean Business:

We want to give another shout-out to the generous businesses that helped make our inaugural Seattle Wild Rivers Night such a huge success. Please consider thanking these businesses for their support of wild rivers and wild salmon by giving them your business.


filson copyFilson has been making outstanding functional and attractive outdoor and work clothes since 1897. And virtually all of their clothing is made by hand right here in the U.S.A. Filson also has a long tradition of actively supporting efforts to conserve and restore our rivers, lands, and fish and wildlife.

Blueacre.logoBlueacre seafood:  Located in downtown Seattle Kevin and Terresa Davis serve delicious food in a beautiful restaurant; they are committed to serving sustainably-sourced fish. Kevin and his team have been hugely supportive of Save Our wild Salmon and many other river and fish conservation organizations and efforts in the Northwest and beyond.

 

wbtype-iconlogocopperjpgWaterbrook Wines:  Founded in 1984 as Walla Walla's fourth founded winery, Waterbrook is known for fruit-forward, food-friendly wines--primarily Cabernet Sauvignon, Merlot, and Chardonnay. They’ve recently offered very generous support for SOS and our events.


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Troon Vineyards:  Troon started as a pioneering vineyard in southern Oregon in 1972, and they’ve been making delicious wines ever since.

 

 

sn.beer copySierra Nevada Brewing:  Sierra Nevada makes excellent beer, has supported hundreds of organizations and events working for healthy rivers and lands and abundant wild salmon and steelhead, and is a committed to always improving their sustainable business model by using, for example, clean, renewable energy and a constant search to find new ways to reduce waste.

 

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