The future and health of Snake River salmon, Southern Resident orcas and Northwest communities depends on the urgent engagement and leadership of elected leaders in the Northwest. Please read on to learn of some recent developments – and how you can help.
The news is not good. Adult wild salmon and steelhead returns to the Snake and Columbia rivers in 2019 were some of the lowest on record and predictions for 2020 are no better. Just fourteen (!!) wild Snake River sockeye, for example, reached their spawning grounds in the Stanley Basin of central Idaho. All Snake River populations today struggle against extinction. Not so long ago, wild salmon and steelhead populations returned to the Snake River Basin by the millions.
To make matters worse, this orca scientists announced the presumed death of one more Southern Resident orca this fall. This heartbreaking news brings the population to a new low – just 73 whales remain.
The fates of salmon and orca, of course, are intertwined. Orcas rely on large, fatty chinook salmon to survive. These fish are scarce today and the orcas are literally starving to death as a result. Biologists tell us that restoring the lower Snake River by removing its costly dams will return up to 1 million adult Snake River chinook to Northwest coastal waters to help feed starving orcas and help struggling fishing communities.
The plight of salmon and orca today is urgent. Without leadership by Northwest policymakers, we will lose these special Northwest species forever - and the costs and uncertainities facing communities across the Northwest will increase.
Political leadership is starting to emerge - and we need your help to support and encourage and accelerate it.
Please contact these Northwest Governors and U.S. Senators today - urge them to act now to bring together stakeholders, sovereigns and citizens to support lawful, science-based solutions for salmon, orca and our communities. And please share this alert widely with your friends and family.
Below you will find all the information you need to send them an email and call their offices:
Deliver these messages:
- "Snake River salmon and Southern Resident orcas face extinction today and Northwest communities face increasing costs and uncertainty as a result. We need your urgent, bold leadership to help protect them!"
- "We urgently need a comprehensive regional solution that recovers abundant salmon populations and and invests in vibrant, prosperous communities. Restoring the lower Snake River by removing its four federal dams must the cornerstone of any effective plan for salmon, orca and our communities."
- "Please begin today - working with other policymakers, stakeholders, sovereigns and citizens to develop an effective, long-term plan to restore the lower Snake River, recover endangered salmon and orca, and invest in healthy fishing and farming communities. Thank you."
Washington State Gov. Jay Inslee:
Sen. Maria Cantwell (WA):
Senator Patty Murray (WA):
Oregon Gov. Kate Brown:
Call: (503) 378-4582
Senator Ron Wyden (OR):
Call: (202) 224-5244
Senator Jeff Merkley (OR):
Call: (202) 224-3753
Idaho Gov. Brad Little:
Senator Mike Crapo (ID):
Call: (202) 224-6142
Senator Jim Risch (ID):
Thank you for your support and advocacy,
Here are links to recent media coverage and resources on the SOS website. Please contact us to get more involved. Thank you!
(1) SOS -- Speak up for salmon! The Draft EIS for Columbia and Snake River Salmon – A Resource Page (March 2020)
(2) SOS -- An Update/Statement re: the Draft EIS, public comment process and coronavirus (March 2020)
(3) Lewiston Morning Tribune: Congressman Simpson offers critical remarks on river study (March 12)
(4) Idaho Statesman op ed: These groups are setting differences aside to work on salmon solutions (March 11)
(5) Lewiston Morning Tribune: Groups want more time to comment on river plan (March 7)
(6) Indian Country Today: Nez Perce Tribe calls for leadership on lower Snake River restoration and accurate, complete, and transparent information on impacts of four lower Snake River Dams (February 28)