Wild Salmon & Steelhead News is published by the Save Our wild Salmon Coalition. Read on to learn about the Columbia-Snake River Basin’s endangered wild salmon and steelhead, the many benefits they deliver to people and ecosystems, and the extinction crisis they face today. Find out how SOS is helping lead efforts to restore health, connectivity, and resilience to the rivers and streams salmon depend upon in the Columbia-Snake Basin and how you can get involved to help restore healthy, abundant, and fishable populations and sustain prosperous communities. To get involved, please contact Carrie Herrman.


TABLE OF CONTENTS:

1. U.S. Congressman Mike Simpson (R-ID) announces a groundbreaking proposal to restore Northwest salmon and invest in its communities and infrastructure
2. You’re invited: SOS' Spring ‘Wild Salmon Webinar Series’
3. Dam Removal Success Stories 2021: The first in a 5-part series - 'Restoring the Rogue River'
4. Celebrating Black History Month with a shout-out to Northwest and National Black-led NGOs
5. A Huge "thank you!" to our Friends at Grounds for Change!


 1. U.S. Congressman Mike Simpson (R-ID) announces a groundbreaking proposal to restore Northwest salmon and invest in its communities and infrastructure

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On February 7, Congressman Mike Simpson (R-ID) unveiled an ambitious proposal to comprehensively address a set of inextricably linked issues facing the Pacific Northwest today, including endangered salmon (and orca) populations; energy, agricultural and transportation infrastructure; Native American Tribes; coastal and inland fishing communities; outdoor recreation and more.

This unprecedented initiative presents a once-in-a-lifetime opportunity for Northwest people and place. With his $33B proposal, Rep. Simpson has kicked off an ambitious and urgently-needed conversation about how our region can work together to solve shared problems, seize big opportunities, invest in our communities – and help position the Northwest to meet the challenges we face in the 21st Century.

The Save Our wild Salmon Coalition (SOS) welcomes Rep. Simpson’s (R-ID) leadership and commitment to protect and restore abundant and harvestable salmon and steelhead populations in a manner that also supports our region’s farming and waterfront communities, expands our clean energy economy, and upholds our nation’s responsibilities to Tribal Nations in the Northwest.

With this proposal, Rep. Simpson has elevated a long-overdue and urgent discussion about how to comprehensively address a set of challenges facing the region’s communities, economies, and natural resources. We urge other members of Congress to work together with sovereigns and stakeholders in the Northwest to help refine and advance it. At SOS, we look forward to contributing to this conversation and working with others in the Northwest to seize this opportunity.

HERE IS HOW YOU CAN HELP: If you live in the Northwest (Washington, Oregon, Idaho, Montana, or Alaska), please contact your Member of Congress and U.S. Senators – to encourage them to carefully consider this groundbreaking proposal and engage in the regional conversation to refine and advance it in Congress. Non-Northwest residents can sign this petition to President Biden asking for his support and leadership to work with Congress to move this comprehensive package forward in 2021.


“I want people to think about not what exists now, but what we want the Pacific Northwest to look like 20, 30, 50 years from now,” Simpson said. “Everything we do on the Columbia and Snake River we can do differently … Salmon don’t have that option. They need a river.” – Congressman Mike Simpson


What’s in this proposal? Rep. Simpson’s proposal is ambitious and comprehensive. SOS will work in the coming weeks to help you understand what’s in it, what it means, how you can join the conversation to help make it the best that it can be - and, we hope, move it forward in Congress in 2021.

  • This is a $33B proposal.
  • It is ambitious and comprehensive.
  • It designates significant funds on a range of linked issues.
  • It would authorize and fund the removal of the four lower Snake River dams by 2030.
  • It would create a new Lower Snake River National Recreational Area.
  • It would make significant investments in clean energy, transportation and riverside communities.

Importantly, this proposal also recognizes the pressing need to address historic injustices imposed upon Native American Tribes. It would, for example, expand the role of regional Tribes as co-managers of fish and wildlife resources in the Columbia-Snake River Basin, take important steps to restore access to harvestable salmon, and help to uphold our nation’s trust and treaty responsibilities.


“There is potential for a lot of healing with this legislation.”
– Shannon Wheeler, chairman of the Nez Perce Tribe Executive Council.


Simpson.graphicYou can hear directly from Rep. Simpson in his 5-minute video introducing his proposal. He has also posted this slide deck to help people understand his proposal’s overall scope, framework, and key issue areas.

Finally for now, while this proposal offers a tremendous opportunity for the Northwest and the nation, it is not perfect. Salmon – and the Southern Resident orcas that rely upon them – don’t have much time. Our region must act urgently and meaningfully – or we risk losing these species and the irreplaceable benefits they bring - forever. In addition, there are some very challenging provisions including, for example, proposed limitations on future litigation and license extensions for a set of privately owned dams in the Columbia Basin. These are serious issues. This is a big proposal and we need to study and fully understand it. And we’re going to work with our colleagues in the conservation and fishing communities, the Northwest Congressional delegation, stakeholders, and others to refine and improve this package to be the best it can for the people of the Northwest and the nation.

For more information about this proposal check out these resources:


2. You’re invited: SOS' Spring ‘Wild Salmon Webinar Series’

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We’re excited to announce our Spring 2021 ‘Wild Salmon Webinar Series’. We’re honored to present a set of experts primed to lead engaging discussions, including audience Q&A.

This spring, our series includes:

(1) Rep. Simpson's "Northwest in Transition" Proposal - Perspectives from veteran Northwest journalists.
With Lynda Mapes (Seattle Times), Eric Barker (Lewiston Morning Tribune) and Rocky Barker (Idaho Statesman). Thursday, March 18 at 6:00 pm PST.

(2) Snake River Vision Project: Imagining a free-flowing lower Snake River for the Inland Northwest.
With Inland Northwest Director Sam Mace. Thursday, April 1 at 6 pm PST.

(3) Dam Removal Success Stories - and what they can tell us about opportunities for the lower Snake.
Speakers to be announced. Thursday, April 15 at 6 pm PST.

We’ll host these evening events virtually - via Zoom. Keep an eye out for more information about how to RSVP in the coming weeks!

These discussions will provide a chance to listen to experts, participate in the conversation and learn from each other about the challenges, opportunities, and implications of restoring the lower Snake River and its endangered fish by removing its four federal dams located in southeast Washington State. We'll explore options for solving today's Snake and Columbia river salmon crisis in a manner that also ensures clean, reliable, and affordable energy and prosperous communities and cultures. These conversations all include audience Q&A and will be moderated by SOS' Sam Mace and Joseph Bogaard.

Questions about the upcoming webinar series? Email carrie@wildsalmon.org


3. Dam Removal Success Stories 2021: The first in a 5-part series - Restoring the Rogue River

Untitled design 3Starting this month, Save Our Wild Salmon and American Rivers are kicking off a 5-part series spotlighting dam removal success stories from across the Northwest and the nation. These short, informal 'case studies’ will take a close look at dam removal projects that have occurred in recent years. The series will explore what happened and why - and take a look at some of these projects’ economic, community, ecological, and social justice outcomes.

These stories all share themes of renewal, opportunity, and benefits. These stories are designed to inform and inspire. Dam removal projects frequently start with a struggle over values and visions. In the successful case, this is followed by coordination and collaboration. It is also helpful to remind ourselves of, in nearly all cases, the persistence that is required and the payoff that results. River restoration projects - 69 dams were removed across the United State in 2020! - invariably deliver big benefits to communities, economies and ecosystems - and have turned many from skeptic to supporter.

Restoring the Rogue: The first story in our series focuses on the Rogue River running through southern Oregon. The Rogue River and its tributaries have benefited from a number of dam removal and dam modification projects in the last decade that have restored and reconnected 157 miles of free-flowing river. Our story focuses in particular on the removal of Savage Rapids Dam near the community of Grants Pass on the mainstem of the Rogue - completed in October 2009. Over the last 11 years, this dam removal has shown promising results for salmon recovery, though the long-term effects of this project are still unfolding. With the dam out of the way, this once fragmented river is in many ways is restoring and renewing itself.

Notably, local irrigation needs are being fully met - without the dam. As part of the larger dam removal package, a new pumping station replaced the old one; it is more reliable and efficient than the 88-year-old, failing diversion system that was removed at the same time as the dam.

Follow this link to read the full story with photos.

Look for our second “success story” next month, focused on the Middle Fork of the Nooksack River in northwest Washington State.


4. Celebrating Black History Month with a shout-out to some Northwest and National Black-led NGOs

BHMFebruary is Black History Month and it provides us the opportunity to honor and celebrate African Americans in our community and our history - and their achievements that have helped shape the Pacific Northwest and the nation.

Here at SOS, we acknowledge that Black communities experience a disproportionate amount of environmental racism and are more impacted than others by the effects of climate change and other sources of environmental degradation and disruption. We’re committed to learning from and listening to all communities in the Northwest as we work to protect and restore abundant salmon and steelhead populations and the healthy lands and waters they - and we all - depend upon.

This month, we have compiled a list of Black-led, environmental and outdoor organizations in the Pacific Northwest and nationwide. We urge you to learn about and support their work - and we encourage you take time to research and support local Black-led organizations and businesses in your community.

Follow this link for a list of regional and national Black-led environmental NGOs and outdoor organizations that you can support and resources for additional educational opportunities.


5. A huge "thank you!" to our friends at Grounds for Change!zY8nLvdB6DjAtOeD85Cu3MtAQ64hvKU1kzZXPH6Y

Save Our wild Salmon would like to give a huge shout-out to our friends at Grounds for Change who have partnered with us for more than a decade - supporting our efforts to protect and restore healthy and abundant wild salmon and steelhead populations - and the human and non-human communities that depend on them.

Since 2003, Grounds for Change has been committed to delivering delicious, fair trade, organic, and carbon-free beans to coffee drinkers across the country. And - they offer a special Save Our wild Salmon blend - a percentage of all proceeds from sales of this blend go to support SOS' work. We are honored by our long partnership with Grounds for Change and encourage you to purchase their excellent coffee to support their business and SOS at the same time!

Thank you Grounds for Change!

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