WWSSNild Salmon & Steelhead News is published monthly 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 more just and prosperous communities. To learn more and/or get involved, contact Carrie Herrman.

1. Happy New Year – and thank you for the amazing year-end support!
2. Sen. Murray and Gov. Inslee's Initiative to 'Stop Salmon Extinction' in 2022!
3. Washington State Legislative Update - Salmon recovery is on the agenda!
4. Strong support in Washington to restore the Snake River to save salmon
5. And this just in from Indian Country…"Damming the West" by Rae Rose
6. Kirkus Review: "ORCA - Shared Waters, Shared Home", by Lynda Mapes: among the 'the 100 most significant books' in 2021
7. SOS welcomes two new members to our team!

 1. Happy New Year – and thank you for the amazing year-end support!

sos.logo1We want to kick off our first newsletter of the new year to thank everyone who was able to make a year-end donation to support our work at Save our wild Salmon. In terms of both your advocacy (e.g. writing and calling public officials, attending town halls, writing letters-to-the-editor, attending rallies, etc) and your financial support – we rely upon you! When we’re delivering letters and petitions, submitting guest opinions, speaking with reporters, meeting with public officials, you are – in a very real sense - there with us. Your advocacy and support is critical to our success. Our victories to protect and restore Northwest lands and waters and fish and wildlife populations are yours as well.

Thank you for your time and energy and interest – and your financial support. It means a lot and make a huge difference to our work!

As you may recall, last month we had two amazing donors offer a $30K year-end fundraising challenge. With support from many of you, we more than met this match. We had our best year-end fund-drive in years, and we’re gearing up now for what will be a very consequential year for the future of the Snake River and its endangered wild salmon and steelhead. We’ve recently grown our team and we’re geared up for what will be a very active 2022. Stay tuned for additional details about SOS projects and priorities – and how to become more involved. We are in a moment of both great urgency and great opportunity. With the Murray/Inslee initiative on the one hand, and litigation settlement discussions under way with the Biden Administration, the next six months are a crucial window of opportunity to right some historic wrongs to restore a river and its imperiled fish. It will take smart, focused, relentless work by all us to take full advantage. We’re counting on you to continue to show up for the salmon, orcas, and communities that rely on healthy, resilient lands and rivers in the Snake River Basin and across the Northwest.

2. Sen. Murray and Gov. Inslee's Initiative to 'Stop Salmon Extinction' in 2022!

2020.Salmon prayersThe good news is that 2021 was transformative for the Snake River and its endangered fish. Political leadership in the Northwest and nationally is solidifying around the need for bold, urgent action to protect Snake River fish from extinction, to rebuild the many benefits they bring to people, wildlife, and ecosystems, and to uphold our nation's promises to Northwest tribes. The bad news is that time is running short – and we still have a lot of hard work ahead. The science today is beyond dispute: protecting these fish from extinction requires restoring the lower Snake River - and 2022 must be the year we act!

Congressman Mike Simpson (ID) deserves great credit for advancing his proposal last February to remove the lower Snake River dams and invest in infrastructure and communities. His announcement kicked off a critical conversation about the Northwest's environment, economy, culture, and identity.

Other important regional leaders stepped up as well: Last spring, Gov. Kate Brown and Rep. Earl Blumenauer in Oregon, for example, announced their support for restoring the Snake River and investing in impacted communities. Then in October, Gov. Jay Inslee and Sen. Patty Murray (WA) outlined next steps in the federal-state process they first announced in May. The senator and governor are now working together to identify our options for replacing the services provided by the dams as a key step toward developing an action plan for Snake River salmon and Northwest communities by July 2022.

The Biden Administration also leaned in when it joined the Nez Perce Tribe, Oregon, and NGO plaintiffs led by Earthjustice to pause decades of litigation and begin settlement discussions to develop a long-term plan to protect salmon and steelhead in the Snake/Columbia rivers. The deadline for these confidential talks is also July 2022.

Meanwhile, Sen. Maria Cantwell (WA) secured historic levels of funding to support salmon recovery by removing culverts, restoring habitat, and more in the Bipartisan Infrastructure Bill signed into law last fall. SOS is grateful for the senator's leadership to secure this important funding - but we'll also need Sen. Cantwell's active leadership to help develop a comprehensive plan in 2022 that's needed to protect Snake River fish from extinction.

These developments in 2021 – emerging political champions and available funding – are the critical ingredients we must leverage in 2022 to stop salmon extinction and achieve an historic river restoration.

We have momentum as we start the new year, but much hard work remains. July 2022 is fast approaching and we need everyone's help – educating and mobilizing families, friends, and colleagues; contacting public officials; supporting tribes, attending events and speaking up – to expand public support and solidify the political leadership we’ll need to secure a comprehensive plan that restores this river, replaces its dams, and brings everyone forward together.

We’ll be back in touch soon with ways to get more involved!

3. Washington State Legislative Update - Salmon recovery is on the agenda!

insleeThe 2022 Washington State Legislative session is now underway and salmon recovery is a high priority of Gov. Inslee, Tribes, Save Our wild Salmon Coalition and its partners, and many Washingtonians. In December, Gov. Inslee announced a $187 million 'Salmon Investment Proposal' - and a key feature of that proposal is The Lorraine Loomis Act for Salmon Recovery.

This bill - named after the late Swinomish Tribal and fisheries leader - creates a new salmon habitat standard to protect and restore riparian (riverside) habitat, establishes incentives and support for landowners through a statewide riparian habitat conservation grant program, and strengthens science, monitoring, and accountability The Lorraine Loomis Act For Salmon Recovery is one crucial step toward better protecting and restoring healthy, resilient habitat for salmon. Salmon are an important indicator species that depend upon healthy, resilient watersheds and river systems. Protecting and restoring intact and functional riparian areas is one essential strategy for assuring the clean, cold waters needed to recover salmon abundance. For more information or to get involved, contact Tanya Riordan, tanya@wildsalmon.org

4. Suppport is strong for removing Snake River dams to save salmon - notwithstanding dam defenders' misleading media campaign

news1 salmonwilly ryanjohnsonAcross the Northwest, many Tribes, businesses and citizens are calling for the removal of the lower Snake River dams to protect imperiled salmon and steelhead from extinction. A poll released last October showed 59 percent of Washington State voters support restoring the lower Snake River as part of a larger comprehensive solution that invests in communities and critical infrastructure - including energy, irrigation, and transportation - to replace the services provided by the dams today.

You wouldn't know this, however, based on the Northwest RiverPartners' (NWRP) media campaign last fall representing themselves as climate champions and heralding the dams as salmon-friendly. Longtime dam defenders, the NWRP released a new poll in their latest attempt to defend the dams. Their poll, however, tells an incomplete story about the true costs of the lower Snake River dams to salmon, orcas and communities.

The central question in the NWRP poll asks: “Do you support or oppose the use of hydroelectric dams on the lower Snake River to produce electricity?”

The question ignores the fact that dams and their reservoirs increase water temperatures to levels that kill migrating salmon and steelhead. The question also ignores several studies showing that we can replace the aging dams (the cost just to overhaul their turbines is over $1billion) with new, carbon-free energy sources. A study commissioned by the NW Energy Coalition, found that “balanced portfolios of clean energy resources, including solar, wind, energy efficiency, demand response, and storage can replace the power and energy services provided to the Northwest by the four lower Snake River dams.”

Another poll commissioned last summer by Washington Conservation Voters and conducted by the award-winning Mellman Group, asked far more probing questions that specifically identified key tradeoffs transitions and reflected actual proposals actively under consideration today. For example:

"It has been proposed that the four lower Snake River dams be removed to protect salmon and that the federal government provide money to Washington State to increase the production of clean energy, improve transportation for the farm products affected by the removal of the dams, and preserve irrigation for those farms. Do you favor or oppose this plan?”

This poll found that 59 percent of Washington State voters support a plan to remove the lower Snake River dams to prevent salmon extinction that also includes investments in clean energy, transportation for farm products, and irrigation.

Despite Kurt Miller's (NWRP) assertions that “...hydropower is more critical than ever when it comes to achieving our region’s ambitious decarbonization and economic justice goals", NWRP and many of its members have a long history of actively opposing initiatives and legislation to address climate change and achieve decarbonization and economic justice goals in the Pacific Northwest. Many NWRP members, for example, opposed three such initiatives – I-937, I-732, and I-1631 — and two key pieces of legislation: the Clean Energy Transformation Act (SB 5116) and the Climate Commitment Act (SB 5126).

We know we need to aggressively mitigate AND adapt to address climate change - including by restoring a free-flowing lower Snake River to save salmon, steelhead, and orcas from extinction. A high percentage of Washington voters acknowledge the importance of investing in our ecosystems and are calling on policymakers and stakeholders to work together to develop real and lasting solutions that restore the lower Snake River, invest in our communities and infrastructure, and honor our nation's commitments to Tribes.

5. And this just in from Indian Country…"Damming the West" by Rae Rose

Damming 4This year we’re going to more regularly include in our monthly newsletter articles and links to voices and perspectives of Native American leaders and communities. This month, we have an article by Rae Rose of the Last Real Indians, published recently in the Tulalip News. Tulalip News: Damming the West: Northwest tribes battle the legacy of energy colonization

“The Indian will be allowed to take fish. . . .at the usual fishing places and this promise will be kept by the Americans as long as the sun shines, as long as the mountains stand, and as long as the rivers run.” Treaty of Walla Walla, June 9th, 1855, spoken by Isaac Ingalls Stevens

One hundred years later, after the Treaty of Walla Walla was signed, tribes watched their sacred rivers and waterfalls being dammed one after another. The fishing wars had begun as the American government tried to take away treaty rights from Northwest tribes.

Today, the fish are dying and no longer able to return home navigating through mass pollution, warming waters and massive dams that block their only way home to spawn. Spawning grounds have been built over. Many of the great forests have been clear-cut, destroying precious spawning grounds. Another broken treaty.

Here, in the Northwest, short-termed thinking of American policymakers mutilated and deformed the beautiful Columbia Basin as they pursued the energy needs of the settler colonizers at the expense of Tribal communities and the environment by constructing dam after dam.

You can read the full article here. The Tulalip Tribes are direct descendants of and the successors in interest to the Snohomish, Snoqualmie, Skykomish, and other allied bands signatory to the 1855 Treaty of Point Elliott. As signatories, they agreed to cede title to ancestral lands which extended from the Cascade Mountains, north to Vancouver Island and south to Oregon. In return, the treaty reserved the Tulalip Indian Reservation as their permanent homeland.

Their status as a sovereign government maintains their right to self-govern as a “nation within a nation.” The tribe’s population is over 4,900 and growing, with 2,700 members residing on the 22,000 acre Tulalip Indian Reservation, located north of Everett and the Snohomish River and west of Marysville in Washington State.

6. The Kirkus Review: "ORCA - Shared Waters, Shared Home" is among 2021's '100 most significant books'

9781680513264ORCA, Lynda Mapes’ latest literary triumph was published last June and has been receiving all kinds of acclaim, notably being rated 'among the 100 most significant books in the U.S. this past year'. For Lynda Mapes, long-time reporter for the Seattle Times, ORCA represents the culmination of decades of reporting on salmon, orca, and river restoration issues.

According to the Kirkus Review ORCA is “[a] beautifully illustrated scientific, political, and humanitarian study of the threat posed by human encroachment to an iconic species of the Pacific Northwest.” Ms. Mapes has proven her skill as a writer yet again as well as her deep affection for orcas and salmon and the people, lands and water of the Northwest. Everyone needs a copy of her latest work!

7. SOS welcomes two new members to our team - Tanya and Doug!

20200903 185544We expect 2022 to be a highly consequential year for salmon recovery in the Pacific Northwest - and we're excited to welcome two talented new colleagues: Tanya Riordan and Doug Howell. We’re also honored to welcome back two old friends: Amy Grondin, Sustainable Food and Fishing Organizer, and Bob Rees, Recreational Fishing Organizer. As SOS' new Political Coordinator, Tanya Riordan brings a unique combination of community development, political, and government affairs experience to her work at Save Our Wild Salmon. Her work has been dedicated to community sustainability, social justice, environmental advocacy, and corresponding policy efforts across Eastern WA. Some of her experience includes working as Regional Director for U.S. Senator Maria Cantwell, Campaign Manager for Lisa Brown's Congressional Campaign, and with many diverse organizations, including a year in Rwanda with a network of health outreach and microenterprise organizations, with Planned Parenthood as their Vice President of External Affairs, and as a consultant with nonprofit organizations, political campaigns, large scale community initiatives and coalitions, and small businesses.thumbnail 2020 07 06 14.20.30 2 As SOS' new Grassroots Organizing Coordinator, Doug Howell brings decades of experience in social and environmental advocacy. The majority of Doug’s professional career has focused on environmental and climate issues including working for U.S. Senator Barbara Mikulski (D-Maryland), the California Energy Commission, the Environmental and Energy Study Institute, Seattle City Light, King County, National Wildlife Federation, and the Sierra Club. Save Our wild Salmon is a diverse coalition representing different salmon constituents across the Northwest and nation. We’re also a team of formidable activists all concentrating our collective energies on recovering wild salmon and steelhead in the Pacific Northwest by protecting, restoring and reconnecting the habitats they need to survive and thrive.

Join us in welcoming Doug and Tanya! Learn more about the rest of our team here.

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