Salmon Mean Business
Restoring wild salmon to the Columbia/Snake is about more than just saving fish. It’s also about saving our economy. Salmon are a critical part of the northwest economy, supporting a diverse set of industries including fishing, tourism, renewable energy, and outdoor retailers bringing billions to the northwest and creating thousands of jobs.
Related: Press releases
The National Salmon Mean Business Letter to President Obama and Congress
Over 1100 American businesses, providing jobs in fishing, food, farming, recreation, tourism and clean energy call for decisive policy change in the Columbia and Snake Rivers.
Businesses from across the country are urging the Obama Administration and Members of Congress to craft a plan that recovers abundant salmon and steelhead populations, puts thousands of people to work, saves taxpayer dollars, and helps build a clean and affordable energy future.
Commercial fishing is an important part of the Pacific Coast economy. A restored Snake River will mean the return of good, living-wage jobs.
The Columbia and Snake Rivers were once the most productive salmon and steelhead system in the world. This abundance supported robust tribal, commercial and recreational fisheries in the Pacific salmon states of Washington, Idaho, Oregon, California, and Alaska. Dams have eliminated many of these jobs but a restored river can revitalize our fishing economy and way of life.
Commercial fishing families have paid the price
In order to compensate for the salmon-killing dams on the Columbia and Snake Rivers, fishing men and women all along the West Coast have been asked to make significant sacrifices that have reduced fishing seasons and eliminated fishing jobs.
Dams - not fishermen-are the real "harvesters" of Columbia Basin salmon. Check out the pdf on the "real harvesters". Immediately after the completion of the four dams on the lower Snake River in 1975, these salmon populations plummeted to just 10% of their pre-dam levels. Under the most recent federal salmon plan, dams and their reservoirs would be allowed to continue killing more than 90% of young Snake River salmon migrating downstream...before they ever reach the ocean.
Last week, Rep. Ed Markey (D-Mass.) sent a letter to Secretary of Energy Steven Chu addressing current issues with Bonneville Power Administration (BPA) and its approach to wind energy production and water spill levels in the Columbia and Snake Rivers.
In recent months, BPA has claimed that legal constraints for salmon may force it to shut off wind energy production in the Northwest when there’s too much water in the rivers (a so-called “over-generation” situation). BPA has therefore proposed a “Record of Decision on Environmental Redispatch,” which outlines its approach for dealing with the issue. This plan, which BPA will likely implement very soon as spring runoff increases river flows, will undermine renewable energy in the Northwest, threaten salmon, and contradict the policies of the Obama administration and the Department of Energy.
In his letter, Rep. Markey writes that he is aware that changes in power systems will present new challenges to energy managers. However, he asks that BPA utilize resources such as the Department of Energy to create sound policies, instead of shutting off wind. Sen. Jeff Merkley (D-Ore.) and Rep. Earl Blumenauer (D-Ore.), as well as Rep. Jay Inslee (D-WA), also sent letters to BPA recently, asking it to reconsider its Record of Decision and expressing their concern that it would “cause significant problems for renewable energy development in our region.”
Don't let Bonneville squander clean energy jobs and innovation.
While oil was spewing into the Gulf of Mexico, the Northwest was facing an incredibly stormy spring; lots of wind and rain led to a surplus of energy from both hydroelectric dams and wind turbines.
Yet, instead of using last spring’s abundance of power as an opportunity to expand and diversify the Northwest’s clean energy portfolio, the Bonneville Power Administration (BPA) – which manages much of the Northwest’s energy transmission – opted instead to undertake a planning process to deal with what it calls “over-generation.”
Patagonia's Yvon Chouinard: New Project Benefits Wild Salmon
"To do good...you actually have to do something."
- Yvon Chouinard
Right now, Patagonia's founder Yvon Chouinard, is appearing on an American Express commercial as part of their 'members project' with Takepart.com. The piece features Yvon climbing in and around Ventura County in California.
The commercial also features the Matilija Dam, a dam that Yvon and many others have been working to remove for more than 15 years. The outdated monstrosity sits upstream from Patagonia HQ on a tributary of the Ventura River. With its crumbling concrete and silt-filled reservoir, Matilija no longer serves any beneficial purpose. Its removal would allow native Steelhead to once again use the river to spawn, and give local beaches a much needed boost in sediments (more sand) from the Creek's steep canyons.
If successful, it would be largest dam yet to be removed in the United States.
President Barack Obama August 5th, 2009
The White House
1600 Pennsylvania Avenue, NW
Washington, DC 20500
Dear President Obama,
As sportfishing industry leaders representing tens of thousands of employees and their families from across the country, we understand firsthand how important it is to safeguard America’s natural resources. This country’s unparalleled waters form the bedrock of our industry — helping to generate billions of dollars annually in local communities from coast to coast, and maintaining one of America’s great pastimes.
We are writing to you today to ask for your leadership on one of the most important natural resource challenges facing our nation today: the recovery of wild salmon and steelhead in the Pacific Northwest’s Columbia-Snake River Basin. Historically, the Columbia and Snake Rivers were home to the most productive salmon and steelhead populations anywhere in the world. Today, less than 2% of those numbers remain; severe salmon declines have affected virtually every community in the Pacific Northwest, including our own.
- Aug 05, 2009 - Recreational Fishing Industry calls on President Obama for solution to Columbia Basin salmon crisis
- Jul 31, 2009 - Outdoor Industry Leaders Seek Salmon Solutions from Congress
- May 06, 2009 - Backyard Collective - Where business and conservation meet.
- Mar 06, 2009 - Business Community calls for solutions on the Columbia-Snake
- Feb 26, 2009 - Over 100 businesses sign salmon recovery letter to President Obama