THANK YOU FOR YOUR ADVOCACY AND SUPPORT!
With amazing advocacy and support from so many this past year, we’ve made truly unprecedented progress toward restoring wild salmon and steelhead abundance in the Snake River and rebuilding the irreplaceable benefits they bring to communities, cultures, and ecosystems across the Northwest.
2022 has been a big year for the Northwest's salmon and orcas, for justice and communities. With the leadership of the Tribes, and strong, growing public support, key policymakers have taken critical steps and made important commitments putting us on a path to restore the lower Snake River as soon as we replace the dams’ services with alternatives. SOS is still hard at work to accomplish all we can this year while we also lay the groundwork for new progress in 2023. Bold, urgent action by our public officials remains a top priority in order to protect salmon and orca from extinction.
With your assistance, the Save Our wild Salmon Coalition (SOS) and our allies have made 2022 an historic year. Needless to say, our work is not done. We hope that you will continue to advocate for wild salmon and steelhead and their rivers – and support our work with a generous year-end donation that can help us seize new opportunities in the year ahead.
OUR TOP GOALS IN 2023: To support – and hold to account – Northwest governors, members of Congress, and the Biden Administration on their commitments to urgently develop and deliver the comprehensive package – planning, projects, policies, and appropriations – required to (i) remove the four lower Snake River dams and (ii) invest in new infrastructure to replace their services. Restoring a freely flowing lower Snake River is an essential piece of the larger regional salmon recovery strategy we need in order to uphold our nation’s promises to Tribes, help feed hungry Southern Resident orcas, create new jobs and economic opportunity, and support prosperous, resilient communities.Your advocacy and your support has been vital to our progress in 2022. We’ll need all of that and more in the new year. We’re gearing up now to bring all of our strategic focus and creative energies to seize the window of opportunity that together we’ve created.Read on for a summary of SOS’ top accomplishments and related developments affecting salmon and orcas in 2022 - and for a brief look into the year ahead.
WE'RE BUILDING BIPARTISAN LEADERSHIP TO RESTORE SNAKE RIVER SALMON:
In the face of looming extinctions, decades of litigation, inadequate federal plans, escalating uncertainty, and calls for justice, Washington State Sen. Patty Murray, Gov. Jay Inslee, and the Biden Administration (among others!) made significant commitments this year to protect Snake River fish from extinction. After more than a year of dialogue and inquiry, Sen. Murray and Gov. Inslee released in August their Lower Snake River Dam Benefit Replacement Report and accompanying Recommendations. With these documents, the senator and governor have put the Northwest and nation on a presumptive path to recover Snake River salmon and steelhead by restoring this historic river as soon as their services – energy, irrigation, and barge transportation – can be replaced.
Also in August, the Biden Administration took a big step forward - agreeing with plaintiffs (Nez Perce Tribe, State of Oregon, conservation/fishing plaintiffs led by Earthjustice) to extend the litigation pause through August 2023. In doing so, they also made a set of specific commitments necessary to advance Columbia-Snake Basin salmon recovery in the months ahead. And in September, the administration issued a groundbreaking report identifying – for the first time – lower Snake River dam removal as one of three “centerpiece actions” urgently needed for protecting Northwest salmon from extinction.
Tremendous leadership by Tribes and solutions-oriented advocacy from you and many others has opened up a window of opportunity that can deliver big benefits to the lands and waters, fish and wildlife, and people and communities of the Northwest. Of course, much work remains and we – salmon, orca river and clean energy advocates – must continue to play critical roles in order to leverage this momentum and leadership – and help develop and deliver a comprehensive regional solution that removes the lower Snake River dams as quickly as possible.
Our advocacy to recover salmon by protecting, restoring, and reconnecting their rivers and streams has not been – and should not be – a partisan issue. The midterm election results underscore this fact and reinforce favorable circumstances for salmon recovery today. Notably, two leading Northwest salmon/river restoration champions in Congress – Sen. Murray (D-WA) and Rep. Mike Simpson (R-ID) were easily re-elected and are expected to wield significant influence in the upcoming Congress. Many advocates will miss Gov. Kate Brown (D-OR) – an outstanding champion for salmon – when she leaves office due to term limits. But incoming governor – Tina Kotek – should be a strong ally and maintain Oregon’s long-standing role as a leader for salmon recovery and river restoration. Gov. Inslee and the Washington State legislature must continue their work to invest in state and regional salmon recovery priorities in the upcoming legislative session, including for the Snake River and its fish. Thanks to Sen. Murray, Sen. Cantwell and others who supported the Infrastructure Investment and Jobs Act (2021) and the Inflation Reduction Act (2022), there are historic levels of federal funding available today that Congress and the Administration can help direct for planning and implementing projects needed to replace the dams’ services over the next several years. To seize this unprecedented opportunity that we’ve helped create, SOS will continue our work to educate and engage people and policymakers, expand issue visibility, and build important relationships with key constituencies and stakeholders. SOS and our partners – including NGOs, businesses, community and elected leaders, and citizens – will continue to support Northwest Tribes and work together to expand public support for salmon recovery and for leadership by public officials regionally and nationally.
In 2023 as ever, we must support – and hold accountable – state and federal policymakers to ensure they act on their commitments to protect Snake River salmon from extinction – by moving urgently to develop, fund, and begin to implement a comprehensive plan for dam removal in a manner that brings everyone forward together.
HERE ARE SOME SOS HIGHLIGHTS FROM 2022: This past year has been our busiest in memory. SOS has an amazing team – and here are just a few of the activities and initiatives we organized, co-led and/or supported in 2022:
- We hosted thousands of people often in coordination with allied NGOs and businesses at dozens of public events in the first seven months of 2022 – film screenings, speaker series, webinars, presentations, banner displays, and rallies and marches. We educated, mobilized, and expanded public support for salmon recovery; we delivered a constant drumbeat of pressure to key policymakers in the Northwest and nationally.
- We organized numerous NGO sign-on letters targeting Northwest governors, members of Congress and Biden Administration officials. Our most recent letter, delivered in November to Council on Environmental Quality (CEQ) Chair Brenda Mallory, was signed by 95 national and Northwest NGOs representing millions of conservationists, fishing people, clean energy and climate advocates, faith community leaders, and other civic organizations and networks.
- SOS expanded our network of supporters and allied NGOs – and we worked every day to inform and inspire and mobilize them on behalf of endangered salmon and orcas. Our supporters delivered tens of thousands of contacts – meetings, phone calls, texts, letters and emails – to decisionmakers, and we worked with our coalition member organizations and other allies to help them mobilize their supporters to deliver hundreds of thousands more.
- We helped to elevate Tribal voices and support Tribal projects and priorities – including the 17-day, 11-stop Snake River to Salish Sea Spirit of the Waters Totem Pole Journey through Northwest states in May. SOS staff traveled to Washington D.C. in support of the fourth Tribal-led ‘Salmon Orca Summit’, and we provided support for and were invited to participate as witnesses at the first Indigenous ‘Salmon Seas Symposium’ organized by Se’Si’Le in October at the Woodland Park Zoo in Seattle.
- We launched Northwest Artists Against Extinction – an exciting new creative collaboration between artists and advocates on behalf of Pacific Northwest salmon and healthy, resilient lands and waters that they - and we - rely upon.
- SOS published our 7th annual Hot Water Report – producing weekly online reports from June to September. This series tracks high water temperatures in the Snake and Columbia river reservoirs during the summer months - and highlights for policymakers, media, and the public how hot waters created by the dams are harming cold-water-reliant salmon and steelhead.
- SOS was proud to support The Grand Salmon Source to Sea - an ambitious project led by four intrepid women who completed in spring a 1,000 mile ski/paddle journey from the headwaters of the Salmon River high in the mountains of Idaho to the salty Pacific Ocean. These adventurers dedicated their journey in urgently protect and recover dwindling salmon populations by (i) restoring the Snake River and (ii) stopping the destructive Stibnite gold mine.
- SOS worked with 225+ Washington State food professionals – chefs, brewers, market owners and others – to send a letter to Gov. Inslee and Sens. Murray and Cantwell calling for leadership to restore salmon to the Snake River in a manner that brings everyone forward together.
- SOS helped NW Energy Coalition to develop an important report examining our options for replacing the LSR dams’ energy services. The paper found that with smart planning and the right investments, the Columbia Basin power system can continue to meet the region’s power needs affordably and emissions-free without the lower Snake River dams.
- We worked closely with our partners in the fishing community to raise awareness around the plight of the Snake River and its salmon. Northwest people – including anglers and the businesses they support – have an essential role to play educating friends and families and encouraging contacts with public officials in support of restoring the Snake River and recovering salmon and steelhead.
- SOS has been proud and inspired to support the leadership of Tribal and non-tribal youth across the Northwest as they raise their voices together for salmon recovery, tribal justice, climate action, and other priorities for building a brighter, more resilient future.
A LOOK AHEAD - SOS PRIORITIES IN 2023:
Looking ahead, SOS will continue our work to educate, inspire and engage our supporters and the public; strengthen stakeholder alliances; find new ways to support Tribal projects and priorities; encourage and help develop youth leadership regionally; and to support – and hold accountable – our political leaders to protect and restore the Snake River and its salmon and uphold our nation’s promises to Tribes by moving forward now with the planning, projects, policies, and appropriations necessary to replace the services currently provided by the lower Snake River dams. The next 12 months will be a critical window – to follow through on the Murray/Inslee Recommendations and Biden Administration Commitments to further develop and begin to deliver a comprehensive solution that protects and recovers the Northwest’s emblematic salmon and hungry orcas by restoring a resilient, freely flowing Snake River as part of a larger salmon recovery strategy that brings everyone forward together.
In anticipation of the consequential year ahead, we’ve been busy this fall developing new, ambitious, creative ways to elevate the urgent plight of Snake River fish and engage new communities and constituencies. Critical decisions at both the state and federal levels will be made in the coming year- and it's our collective job to hold policymakers accountable to ensure they are making the right decisions.
Over the past year, the political and legal landscape around the fate of endangered Northwest salmon and steelhead and Southern Resident orcas has been transformed. Courageous leadership, first from Rep. Simpson, followed by Sen. Murray, Gov. Inslee, the Biden Administration, and others are moving us down the path toward restoring the lower Snake River, its salmon and steelhead – and the irreplaceable benefits they bring to the Northwest and nation.
Please help ensure we have the resources we need to take advantage of this critical window in 2023. Salmon and orca are running out of time. The opportunity is here, now, and with your support and assistance, we’ll seize it.
Thank you as ever for your tremendous support and advocacy. We are grateful for and humbled by your partnership. Please reach out (firstname.lastname@example.org; 206-300-1003) if you have questions about our priorities and program work in the coming year, how you can support us, or would like further information and to get more involved.
Joseph, Tanya and the whole SOS team
P.S. – You can make a year-end gift online or you can mail it to our office: