STATEMENT FROM PAT FORD, Executive Director, Save Our wild Salmon Coalition
December 11, 2012
On December 11, NOAA contacted more than 200 entities and people in the Pacific Northwest States of Washington, Oregon, Idaho, and Montana identified as ‘Columbia Basin Stakeholders’ as the start of a new effort to solicit input concerning the challenges and opportunities of protecting and restoring endangered wild salmon and steelhead in the Columbia and Snake Rivers.
“This is a critical first step toward initiating a dialogue and collaboration among Columbia-Snake Basin stakeholders. After more than a decade of illegal salmon plans and uncertainty for Northwest people, we urgently need a new approach that directly engages the region’s stakeholders to solve problems, create jobs and restore our endangered salmon and steelhead. NOAA Chief Dr. Jane Lubchenco and her Northwest staff deserve praise for making a smart decision to begin this assessment.
It will be important that this effort leads to a collaborative process that includes all interested parties and considers all recovery options. Direct stakeholder engagement that allows all affected interests to collaborate on shared solutions for salmon, our communities and our economy will represent a significant turning point for our region.
Salmon and fishing advocates look forward to participating as part of an inclusive collaborative approach in which all affected parties –fishermen, farmers, utilities, energy consumers, shippers and others – have a voice. We believe that is our best chance to forge a plan that has comprehensive buy-in because it will benefit people widely throughout the region. Given the at-risk status of more than a dozen salmon and steelhead populations in the Columbia Basin today, and the challenges facing fishing communities as a result, we urge NOAA to move ahead quickly from its stakeholder assessment to a substantive regional collaboration.
NOAA’s initiative reflects the broad, growing support of Northwest leaders, families and businesses to bring together stakeholders to work in common cause for effective, lasting solutions in the Columbia-Snake Basin.”
Pat Ford lives in Boise, ID. He can be reached at: email@example.com; 208-345-9067