In this Issue:
1. What’s Next for Obama Salmon Plan: Salmon and Fishing Advocates go to court on Monday, November 23rd.
2. 350.org and Climate Action: Connections for the Snake River.
3. The Rogue Running Free: Savage Rapids Dam removal
By adopting the Bush Salmon Plan, the Obama Administration missed a huge opportunity to demonstrate the kind of leadership we need to bring people together to craft durable solutions that will recover wild salmon, revitalize local communities, and save taxpayer dollars. The decision to retain the old plan also runs counter to President Obama’s numerous pledges to restore scientific integrity to natural resource policy. In giving its seal of approval to the 2008 Federal Salmon Plan, the Obama Administration is backing flawed science and a dangerous interpretation of the Endangered Species Act – neither of which will help salmon or salmon-based communities.
But there’s still hope for getting this plan right. On November 23, Judge Redden has scheduled a hearing in his courtroom to provide one last opportunity for the parties to the litigation to present their arguments for or against the Bush-turned-Obama Salmon Plan. Opponents of the plan – including salmon and fishing advocates, the State of Oregon, and the Nez Perce and Spokane tribes – will appear before the judge along with the plan’s supporters (federal agencies, several tribes, and the industrial users of the Columbia and Snake Rivers like energy utilities and irrigators).
After this hearing, it is expected that the judge will rule as to whether or not the plan complies with federal law. If you live nearby, and might be interested in attending all or part of the hearing (Monday, Nov. 23, 10 am - 3 pm in Portland, Oregon), please contact firstname.lastname@example.org. In any event, we’ll be sure to keep you updated once the hearing occurs.
350.org International Day of Climate Action
Connections for the future of the Snake River’s wild salmon
On Saturday, October 24, Save Our Wild Salmon joined hundreds of paddlers on the Willamette River in downtown Portland to form a giant floating 350 as part of the largest global day of climate action ever.
Paddlers in this River of Action event joined more than 5,200 rallies in more than 180 nations to urge world leaders to take fast and effective action on global warming, specifically to bring attention to the number 350. Scientists have insisted in recent years that 350 parts per million is the most carbon dioxide (CO2) we can safely have in the atmosphere. The current CO2 concentration is 390 parts per million.
This number is especially important for our salmon and rivers. Because of their high-elevation spawning habitat in the mountains of Idaho, many scientists have tagged Snake River salmon as the populations most likely to survive the quickly warming waters in the Pacific Northwest. Sierra Club Executive Director Carl Pope said in a 2008 Los Angeles Times op-ed: “This is Noah's Ark for salmon, the place fish must reach if they are to survive climate change.”
But these fish also have to tackle a gauntlet of eight dams to get to this alpine haven. Their numbers have precipitously declined since the 1970s when the four lower Snake River dams were constructed for barge transportation. The science is clear that these dams have to go, if we have any hope of saving these fish.
And we do have hope.
The October 24, River of Action is symbolic of what we can achieve if we all work together. Getting more than 200 paddlers to form a large “350″ on a river is no small task, especially with a strong current. It took everyone working together to make it all happen. It feels good to take part in a global movement.
And we can take these same strong actions now to recover our wild salmon and stop climate change.
Thanks to River of Action and Epicocity Project for pulling people together to take action to save our planet, our river and our salmon.
The Rogue Running Free: Savage Rapids Dam removal
Stretching out to the Pacific Ocean from its headwaters near Crater Lake in the Cascade mountain range, the mighty Rogue River runs legendary among fishing, whitewater, and other outdoor communities. It was one of the original eight rivers named in the Wild and Scenic Rivers Act of 1968. However, since 1921, the migration of the Rogue's salmon and steelhead has been severely constrained by five dams on the river's middle and upper reaches.
With the breaching of Savage Rapids Dam last month, four out of five restoration projects are now complete, and the last remaining obstacle, Gold Ray Dam, could be brought down by 2010, returning a 157-mile stretch of the river to its natural state. A 21-year battle-turned-collaboration is responsible for allowing the Rogue to flow free once again.
A 2001 consent decree was signed by all parties to finally end a long-running legal fight. Farmers and other water users in the Grants Pass Irrigation District agreed to dam removal, and in exchange, WaterWatch and other conservation and fishing groups would help the district secure federal money to remove the dam and build a replacement plant to pump irrigation water. The federal authorization came in 2003, and was followed by $36 million in federal and $3 million in state funding.
The fantastic river restoration occurring on the Rogue River provides an example of what is possible when citizens use law and science effectively to protect invaluable species like salmon and steelhead. A similar coalition of groups has been working on Snake River salmon restoration efforts. Let’s hope there is a similar solution in the Snake River Basin that results in a resolution that serves the Northwest and the nation, recovers wild salmon and steelhead, and saves taxpayer dollars in the process.
Congratulations to WaterWatch, Oregon Wild, Rogue Flyfishers, and everyone working – or who has worked on this effort over the last couple of decades – to make a free-flowing Rogue River a reality!
A Great Pairing: Columbia Winery “stomps” for Save Our Wild Salmon
Columbia Winery is proud to support Save Our Wild Salmon with a $5,000 donation to help restore healthy wild salmon populations to the Columbia River basin. As Washington State’s first premium winery, Columbia Winery has been producing distinctive Washington wines from European vinifera grapes since 1962.
In addition to their donation, Columbia Winery encourages supporters to visit participating retailers in Washington and Oregon throughout November and December for special offers on bottle tags that allow consumers to direct a donation to Save Our Wild Salmon when they buy Columbia Winery wines.
For more information on Columbia Winery, please visit www.columbiawinery.com
Columbia’s Winemaker Emeritus David Lake, deemed "Dean of Washington Winemakers" by both Wine Spectator and Decanter Magazine, believed in the synergy between art and science, and continued the founders’ tradition of innovation by introducing new varietals to the state, such as Syrah, Cabernet Franc, and Pinot Gris. Today, Director of Winemaking Kerry Norton honors the Columbia Winery tradition by crafting highly-acclaimed wines from Washington State.