Thousands of ocean miles. 900 miles inland. 7,000 feet in elevation.
Snake River salmon make a journey that is truly...
one of a kind
The miraculous story of high-altitude Snake River
salmon and the race to save them
The wild salmon and steelhead of central Idaho, southeastern Washington, and northeastern Oregon are an incredible story of nature that began over 100 million years ago. When dinosaurs roamed the earth, salmon were swimming in our waters. The journey through time and the heroic lives of Snake River salmon make them one of a kind.
Salmon and steelhead are the only freshwater fish in the world that are born in a mountain lake or river, swim hundreds of miles downstream to live in the ocean, then turn and swim back upstream to reach the very place they were born.
Snake River salmon travel more than 900 miles inland and climb almost 7,000 feet to reach their spawning grounds – the highest salmon spawning habitats on earth, and the largest and wildest habitat left in the continental United States.
No other salmon species on this planet goes higher and farther.
The nutrients these salmon carry from the oceans to the forests and rivers, and to more than 150 species of animals that exist on land and water, are benefits to nature unmatched by any other.
The millions of years that Snake River salmon and steelhead have fulfilled the challenge of climbing higher and higher to return to their alpine homes to spawn have made them the mightiest of all salmon. Because of their lives of struggle, their offspring have become stronger, more determined, and craftier by each generation.
They are the Olympians of the salmon world.
Snake River salmon and steelhead have survived ice ages and every other trial that nature has thrown in their way. But they may not survive the current age of indifference that ignores the threats to their existence.
Four federal dams on the lower Snake River kill the majority of Snake River salmon and block access to the biggest, wildest, highest and best-protected spawning grounds left in the continental United States.
This “Noah’s Ark” for salmon is ready and waiting; salmon just need to clear those four dams to reach it. If we get them there, the species can survive. And they may be the only salmon capable of re-seeding the rest of the region to ensure that future generations have the same opportunities that we have to experience these amazing creatures.
Many scientists and economists agree that removing the four lower Snake River dams is the best, most cost-effective, and perhaps only option to protect and recover endangered Snake River salmon populations. But to date, the government at nearly every level is ignoring the critical task of restoring these creatures. We have failed these species so far and we can no longer afford to do so.
It’s not too late.
We – our generation – are the ones who will decide whether these one-of-a-kind creatures continue to exist for our children and for generations beyond...