Help save Snake River salmon from extinction!

Snake River | Photo by Alison Meyer Photography

Beginning high in the mountains of Wyoming, the Snake flows more than 1,000 miles before merging with the Columbia River in eastern Washington. As the largest tributary of the Columbia, the Snake once produced two to six million salmon and steelhead every year. From the Rocky Mountains to the Pacific Ocean, the Snake River’s salmon have been at the heart of Indigenous cultures and the ecology of the Pacific Northwest for millennia.

Unfortunately, following the construction of four federal dams along the lower Snake in the 1950s through 1970s, returns of wild Snake River salmon and steelhead (already in steep decline due to historic mismanagement) plummeted by more than 90 percent. This loss of salmon is an existential threat to Northwest Tribal Nations. It is sending a shockwave through the web of life, especially for the critically endangered Southern Resident orcas that rely solely on salmon for nutrition. The U.S. government must change course and honor treaties and commitments with Tribal Nations 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.

The Pacific Northwest has an unprecedented opportunity to modernize infrastructure and recover abundant wild salmon and steelhead. Last fall, U.S. Senator Patty Murray (D-WA) and Washington Governor Jay Inslee explicitly acknowledged the extinction crisis facing Snake River salmon and steelhead and committed to developing a federal-state plan to protect and restore these imperiled populations. They are seeking input from Tribal Nations and stakeholders across the region to consider how to replace the energy, transportation and irrigation services the dams provide. Additionally, the Biden administration and the White House Council on Environmental Quality (CEQ) are at the table to honor our nation’s commitments to Tribal Nationsand forge enduring solutions for salmon recovery.

Please join us in us in telling the Biden Administration and the White House Council on Environmental Quality that we need 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.

 

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