Remove the Dams on the Lower Snake River!
Salmon are the spiritual and cultural icon of the Pacific Northwest and a critical component of the Northwest’s economy. Historically, the Columbia River Basin was home to 10-16 million salmon annually. Today, those runs are now 1-3% of what they once were. The Snake River once had the most prolific salmon runs in the entire Columbia River Basin but are now at the brink of extinction. The loss of salmon is sending a shockwave through the web of life, especially for the critically endangered Southern Resident orcas that rely solely on salmon for nutrition. This loss of salmon is an existential threat to Northwest Tribal Nations who depend on salmon, and the U.S. government must change course and honor treaties and commitments with tribes by restoring abundant populations of salmon.
Scientists say that removing four federal dams on the lower Snake River in eastern Washington must be part of any plan to recover Snake River salmon. By 2080, it’s estimated that 65 percent of the coldest, most climate resilient stream habitats on the West Coast will lie in the Snake River basin. Tell Biden Administration and the White House Council on Environmental Quality that the dams must be removed.
Right now, we have a massive opportunity to build new infrastructure in the Pacific Northwest and recover abundant wild salmon and steelhead. It’s past time to get to work across the region to analyze how to replace the hydropower, transportation and irrigation services provided by the four lower Snake dams.
The choice is clear. We can either choose the status quo—which looks like salmon extinction, increasing energy insecurity, broken commitments to Tribal Nations and the loss of a multi-million-dollar natural economic resource—or we can choose a comprehensive solution that invests in a future of abundance and prosperity with the biggest river restoration effort the world has ever seen.
The Biden Administration and the White House Council on Environmental Quality are currently accepting comments on Columbia-Snake salmon recovery. Join us in telling them it’s past time for bold, urgent action: Stop salmon extinction. Deliver justice to tribes. Invest in climate solutions.
Remove the four lower Snake dams and restore a free-flowing river.