SOS is a coalition of northwest and national conservation organizations, recreational and commercial fishing associations, clean energy and orca advocates, businesses and citizens committed to protecting and restoring abundant, self-sustaining fishable populations of salmon and steelhead to the Columbia-Snake River Basin for the benefit of people and ecosystems.
The Columbia-Snake River Basin was once the most prolific salmon landscape on the planet – experiencing returns of adult wild salmon and steelhead exceeding 16 million fish annually. Today, however, due mainly to the scores of large dams built on the Columbia and Snake Rivers last century, populations have plummeted. Thirteen populations are listed under the Endangered Species Act. All four remaining salmon and steelhead populations in the Snake River Basin are at risk of extinction.
Save Our wild Salmon has two primary program goals:
(1) Securing a durable, lawful, science-based federal plan - Federal Columbia River Power System (FCRPS) Biological Opinion - that protects and restores Columbia-Snake salmon and steelhead. Science, law and common sense dictate that this plan must include the removal of the four high-cost, low-value dams on the lower Snake River and expanded spill on the dams that remain, among other measures.
(2) Securing a modernized U.S. – Canada Columbia River Treaty that includes a new third purpose of ecosystem-based function or health of the river – co-equal with the two other original Treaty purposes of energy production and flood management. A modernized Treaty must include and prioritize ecological goals and outcomes, engage Columbia Basin Tribes and First Nations as full partners in the planning and implementation of the Treaty moving forward, and ensure river and watershed resilience in the face of an increasingly disrupted climate.
Save Our wild Salmon activities and accomplishments
SOS coordinates legal, policy, communications, and community organizing efforts to inform and engage our constituencies, the public, key stakeholders and elected leaders regionally and nationally. We work closely with the State of Oregon, and with the Nez Perce and other Tribes in the Columbia Basin. Over the course of our 25-year history, our coordinated work has educated and mobilized the public to support policies in the Columbia-Snake watershed that wild salmon and steelhead need in order to recover. As a result of our coalition efforts, we have held federal agencies in the Pacific Northwest accountable for their obligations and responsibilities under the Endangered Species Act, National Environmental Policy Act and other federal laws.
Since 2000, we have won five consecutive court verdicts invalidating the agencies’ inadequate federal Columbia Basin salmon plans, most recently in Spring 2016. Working with lawyers, coalition leaders, elected officials and members of the public, we have delivered important programs and policies that are giving endangered salmon and steelhead a fighting chance. Our efforts have secured the nation’s largest salmon habitat protection and restoration program - on tributaries to the Columbia and Snake Rivers and in the estuary. Since 2006, working with the Nez Perce Tribe and the State of Oregon, we maintained critical levels of court-ordered “salmon spill” – water releases over the tops of dams during the spring and summer – that has delivered more juvenile salmon and steelhead past the federal system of dams to the Pacific Ocean more quickly and safely. In 2017, our alliance fought for and won additional spill for provide further help for imperiled salmon starting in spring of 2018.
Our work, of course, is far from done.
Learn more about our projects and how you can get involved:
- Restoring the lower Snake River
- Tackling the Climate Challenge
- Protecting Orca by Restoring Salmon
- Modernizing the Columbia River Treaty
Contact us for further information.