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SOS Blog

Save Our Wild Salmon

snakeriver.2020In the face of looming extinctions, decades of litigation, costly federal plans, escalating uncertainty and calls for justice, Washington State Sen. Patty Murray, Gov. Jay Inslee, and the Biden Administration (among others) have made significant public commitments recently to protect Snake River salmon and steelhead from extinction. After more than a year of regional dialogue and research, Sen. Murray and Gov. Inslee released their “Lower Snake River Dam Benefit Replacement Report” and accompanying “Recommendations” this past August. With these documents, these public officials have put the Northwest and nation on a path to recover Snake River salmon and steelhead, by restoring this historic river as soon as their current services – energy, irrigation, and barge transportation – are replaced. 
With the tremendous leadership by Tribes and solutions-oriented advocacy from you and so many others, this growing engagement by powerful decision-makers has been transformative – opening up a long-sought window of opportunity that can deliver big benefits to the lands and waters, fish and wildlife, and peoples and communities across the Northwest. Needless to say, salmon, orca and river advocates will continue to have a critical role to play to leverage this momentum and leadership – and to help urgently develop and deliver a comprehensive regional solution that includes lower Snake River dam removal, on an urgent timeframe salmon need.
Our collective work to recover salmon by protecting, restoring, and reconnecting their rivers and streams has never been a partisan issue. The just-completed Fall 2022 elections underscore this fact and further reinforce these favorable circumstances and movement for salmon recovery. Notably, two leading Northwest salmon/river restoration champions in Congress – Sen. Murray (D-WA) and Rep. Mike Simpson (R-ID) were easily re-elected this month and are likely to wield significant influence in the upcoming Congressional session. Gov. Brown (D-OR) - another important champion for salmon will leave office at the end of this year due to term limits in Oregon, but the newly-elected incoming governor - Tina Kotek – should be a strong ally and maintain Oregon’s role as a leader for salmon recovery and dam removal. Additionally, Washington State Governor Inslee and state legislative champions will (must!) continue their work to lead efforts that invest in salmon recovery priorities, including for Snake River fish as we head into the upcoming legislative session in Washington State. 
To seize this unprecedented opportunity that you/we’ve helped create, SOS will continue our work to educate and engage people and policymakers, expand issue visibility, and build relationships with key constituencies and stakeholders. Working together, SOS and our partners – NGOs, businesses, community, and elected leaders and citizens – will support Tribes and work to build strong public support for salmon recovery and leadership by our elected leaders and decision-makers.  
We must support – and hold accountable - State and Federal public officials to ensure they move forward on their commitments to protect Snake River salmon from extinction – by immediately developing, funding, and beginning to implement a comprehensive plan for dam removal in a manner that invests in communities and brings everyone forward together. 
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One immediate next step includes engaging USDOE Secretary Jennifer Granholm to ensure the Bonneville Power Administration (BPA) is a constructive partner within the Northwest and as a member of the Biden Administration - so we can restore a free-flowing lower Snake River as we also enhance electricity transmission and grid services to clean up the region’s power grid and modernize the hydroelectric system.  
Salmon recovery in the Snake and Columbia rivers requires urgent action – and a whole-of-government approach – including the Bonneville Power Administration! We need solutions that protect salmon and orcas from extinction, and also meet the needs of Tribes, the energy sector, farmers, and anglers. Please ask U.S. Department of Energy Secretary Jennifer Granholm to ensure BPA aligns with the region's vision for abundant salmon & clean energy.   
Help us send a strong and urgent message to USDOE and BPA. Thank you, as always, for your support and participation.
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