WWSSNild Salmon & Steelhead News is published monthly by the Save Our wild Salmon Coalition. Read on to learn about the Columbia-Snake River Basin’s endangered wild salmon and steelhead, the many benefits they deliver to people and ecosystems, and the extinction crisis they face today. Find out how SOS is helping lead efforts to restore health, connectivity, and resilience to the rivers and streams salmon depend upon in the Columbia-Snake Basin and how you can get involved to help restore healthy, abundant, and fishable populations and sustain more just and prosperous communities. To learn more and/or get involved, contact Tanya Riordan.

1. New, breaking developments for the Snake River and its fish!
2. Hundreds gather with the Yakima Nation and Umatilla Confederated Tribes to 'Honor the Wykanish'
3. Columbia River Inter-Tribal Fish Commission offers sweeping energy vision
4. 'Hot Water Report' - Salmon and steelhead are in hot water in the lower Snake River reservoirs
5. A fond farewell to Carrie!
6. 'Salmon Source to Sea' Journey reaches the ocean!
7. SOS is proud to partner with 'Flatstick Pub' in Kirkland (WA)
8. Recent Snake River / salmon media round-up

1. New, breaking developments for the Snake River and its fish!


White House Washington DCOn Aug. 4, parties to the litigation challenging the inadequate and illegal 2020 Trump Administration salmon plan for the Columbia-Snake rivers asked the U.S. District Court in Oregon to approve an agreement to extend a pause in that long-running litigation. The court speedily approved the request from the federal defendants (the Biden Administration) and the plaintiffs - the Nez Perce Tribe, State of Oregon and fishing and conservation groups represented by Earthjustice.

Todd True, lead counsel for Earthjustice explained, “This joint request to extend the litigation stay for up to a year is based on the Biden Administration’s unequivocal commitment to urgent and bold action and a new direction for salmon restoration in the Columbia and Snake River Basin. We welcome that commitment… As the documents filed with the Court today make clear, however, if the Administration does not live up to its commitment to act urgently and boldly starting now, we will not hesitate to ask the Court to lift the stay so we can return to litigation and our request for an injunction.”

The Administration commitments were set out in an exhibit included as part of the motion. The document begins with these words: “The Biden Administration is committed to supporting the development of a durable long-term strategy to restore salmon and other native fish populations to healthy and abundant levels, honoring Federal commitments to Tribal Nations, delivering affordable and reliable clean power, and meeting the many resilience needs of stakeholders across the region. The Administration recognizes that business as usual will not achieve the goals of restoring salmon populations and ecosystem functions.”

Although the Save Our wild Salmon Coalition is not a party to the litigation, the groups represented by Earthjustice are Coalition members. SOS Executive Director Joseph Bogaard responded to the news: “This new agreement is a good development, BUT - we need bold, urgent action to protect salmon from extinction and recover harvestable abundance. The Biden Administration now needs to follow up on its commitments. We need to work together to develop and deliver a comprehensive regional plan that removes the four lower Snake River dams and invests in communities and infrastructure.”

Read more here:

OPB: Groups seek pause in long-running Columbia River Basin salmon dispute (Aug. 4)

Lewiston Morning Tribune: Salmon and dam talks get another year (Aug. 5)


2021.murray.insleeThe extended litigation pause, and the promises the Administration has made, are significant. Additional significant developments, we trust, are on the horizon. We expect the final version of the 'Lower Snake River Dams' Benefit Replacement Report' initiated last fall by Sen. Patty Murray and Gov. Jay Inslee is expected to be released this month. It will be accompanied, or soon followed by, the comprehensive salmon recovery plan promised by the senator and the governor last year.

The draft report that was released in June affirmed that Columbia/Snake salmon and steelhead are in real peril of extinction, that the lower Snake dams are a major source of their endangerment and their removal is an essential part of a larger strategy to protect and restore abundant, harvestable populations. The draft also found that it was both feasible and affordable to replace, or improve upon, the services the dams now provide. After the 30-day public comment period that closed on July 11, we expect the final version of this report will strengthen and reaffirm these findings.

In our official public comments submitted last month and joined by 45 other NGOs, we asked Sen. Murray and Gov. Inslee to “…recognize in your action plan that restoring a resilient, free flowing lower Snake River through dam removal is an essential part of creating a comprehensive regional solution and approach.” We are hopeful that this call will be reflected in the upcoming Murray/Inslee plan.

With the support and momentum we see from both the Biden Administration and Northwest elected leaders, we believe that a comprehensive regional solution to recover salmon and invest in our communities that includes the removal of the lower Snake River dams may be close at hand.

Don Sampson by Kylin Brown2. Hundreds gather with the Yakima Nation and Umatilla Confederated Tribes to 'Honor the Wykanish'

The Yakama Nation and the Confederated Tribes of the Umatilla Indian Reservation (CTUIR) invited people from across the region to join them in honoring the Wykanish (salmon) at Fishhook Park on the banks of the lower Snake River (reservoir) near Tri-Cities, WA on Aug. 9. SOS' Tanya Riordan and Carrie Herrman were honored to attend and stand in solidarity with these Tribes and their leaders as they called for urgent action to protect and recover endangered salmon and their rivers and watersheds.

Speakers included Phil Rigdon, the Executive Director of the Yakama Nation; Don Sampson, Executive Director of CTUIR & Chief of the Wallulapum Tribe; Carrie Schuster Nightwalker, Palouse Tribe elder and Yakama Nation Tribal member; Jeremy Takala, Yakama Nation Tribal Councilmember; Shannon Wheeler, Vice Chairman of the Nez Perce Tribe; and a number of youth leaders - all calling for a comprehensive solution to recover Columbia Basin salmon, honor the treaties, and invest in communities.

Additionally, Native youth came together with the support of other non-native youth at the event to push forward their petition calling on the Biden Administration to save salmon and remove the lower Snake River dams.

Read more here: Tri-City Herald: ‘Who are we without salmon?’ Tribes gather along dammed Snake River to call for action (Aug. 10)

CRITFC Energy3. Columbia River Inter-Tribal Fish Commission (CRITFC) offers sweeping energy vision

The Columbia River Inter-Tribal Fish Commission (CRITFC) has released the final version of its 'Energy Vision for the Columbia River Basin.' The document is comprehensive and detailed, visionary and pragmatic. CRITFC was created by the Nez Perce, Umatilla, Warm Springs, and Yakama Tribes in 1977. It provides technical, policy coordination, and enforcement services to the four tribes. The just-released Tribal Energy Vision presents 43 specific recommendations, grouped under six headings:

  • Improve River Configuration and Operations, including breaching the four lower Snake River dams
  • Amend the Columbia River Treaty
  • Reduce Peak Loads
  • Maximize Energy Efficiency
  • Harness Renewable Resources
  • Strategically Site Renewable Resources

The Tribal Energy Vision also explicitly recognizes the bedrock necessity of slowing, then halting, and eventually reversing the effects of human-driven climate change that worsen the plight of already-endangered salmon and steelhead populations in the Columbia-Snake River Basin and across the Pacific Northwest.

CRITFC Chair Ron Suppah, explains, ““We must address climate change to protect salmon and the environment that sustains us, but if we don’t have a plan, hasty energy transition decisions could make things worse for Columbia River salmon and other tribal resources. The Tribal Energy Vision provides a blueprint on how to make sure energy production and the energy transition aren’t built on the backs of salmon.”

The central theme of the recommendations on river configuration and operations is that rivers in the Basin should flow, as much as possible, like natural rivers and, in the case of the lower Snake, be fully restored as a free-flowing river.

The document’s heavy emphasis on reducing peak loads is especially noteworthy. Reducing peak demand can minimize the amount of new resources required to replace the output of the lower Snake dams and to provide power for an increasingly decarbonized economy.

The siting recommendation is another highlight of the Vision and is not limited to new renewable resources alone. As the relevant recommendation explains, “CRITFC and its member tribes should work with state energy and siting agencies, federal agencies, Northwest Grid, the Northwest Power Pool, and others to develop a comprehensive plan for siting renewable resources and transmission lines that builds on efforts currently being developed in the states.”

4. Hot Water Report 2022 - Salmon and steelhead are in hot water in the lower Snake River reservoirs

2020.HOT WATERSOS has published its first seven Hot Water Reports this summer. From July to August, we’ve recorded rising water temperatures at the forebay/reservoir of each dam on the lower Snake and Columbia Rivers. Water temperatures rising over the 68 degrees F represent an existential threat to the salmon and steelhead that call these waters home.

Beginning in the month of August, all reservoirs peaked over this 68 degrees threshold. In addition, the Little Goose Dam has spent more than 25 days above the 68°F and similarly, the Ice Harbor Dam has exceeded 68 degrees on 23 consecutive days. In addition, the Ice Harbor Dam registered the highest temperature so far this summer, at 71.96°F - over 3 degrees higher than the temperatures that coldwater fish require.

Read our reports for a weekly update on real-time water temperatures in the lower Snake and Columbia River reservoirs via graphs and analyses. Each Hot Water Report explores related issues and urgently needed solutions and the opportunities they can bring for Northwest communities, economy, and environment.

  • HOT WATER REPORT #5 dives into clean energy resources available to replace the four lower Snake River dams’ energy services.
  • HOT WATER REPORT #6 focuses on the Nez Perce Tribe’s 'Snake Basin Chinook and Steelhead Quasi-Extinction Threshold' Analysis.
  • HOT WATER REPORT #7 describes why the lower Snake River dams are the single-biggest obstacle to salmon and steelhead recovery.

Follow us on Instagram, Facebook, and Twitter to read and share the Hot Water Reports to your networks!

The Hot Water Report 2022 is a joint project of the Save Our wild Salmon Coalition, Columbia RiverkeeperAmerican Rivers, Endangered Species Coalition, Environment Washington, Idaho Conservation League, Idaho Rivers United, Idaho Wildlife Federation, National Resource Defense Council, National Wildlife Federation, Nimiipuu Protecting the Environment, Northwest Sportfishing Industry Association, Sierra Club, Snake River Waterkeeper, Spokane Riverkeeper, Wild Orca, and Wild Steelhead Coalition.

5. A fond farewell to Carrie! 

SOS Banner 1It is with a strong mix of sadness and sense of loss (for us) and excitement (for Carrie) that we share the news that SOS' Outreach Director, Carrie Herrman, will depart at the end of this month to pursue her long-standing desire to live and work in New York City.output image1660687557152

Carrie has been a fantastic member of our fish-saving, river-restoring team for the past 3+ years. She's been a committed, productive, constructive, adaptable, fun, problem-solving friend and colleague - and we will miss her!

Through her time working in Spokane, she has helped host a number of events, coordinate local action, and put time into important community partnerships. It has been wonderful and gratifying to see her many skills and talents develop over the past three years.

SOS' staff and board thanks her for her service and wishes her the very best on her big city adventure. We know we'll keep in touch and that wherever she lands next she’ll thrive.

6. 'Salmon Source to Sea' Journey reaches the ocean!

IMG 2961In mid-July The Grand Salmon Source to Sea team completed their 1,000 mile paddle journey from the multiple headwaters of the Salmon River high in the mountains of central Idaho to the salty Pacific Ocean. The intrepid adventurers dedicated their journey in solidarity with a call to action to urgently protect and recover dwindling salmon populations in the Snake River Basin by (i) restoring and reconnecting critical habitat corridor by removing the four lower Snake River dams and (ii) stopping the destructive Stibnite gold mine proposed in central Idaho.

SOS was proud to support this ambitious project along with Idaho Rivers United (the project's lead NGO sponsor), Nimiipuu Protecting the Environment, Columbia Riverkeeper, Great Old Broads and others.

The team of women paddlers engaged thousands of people through direct grassroots advocacy in river communities along the way - and reached hundreds of thousands more through their communications and social media channels. They encountered many obstacles over the course of their 2.5 month journey, including facing unusually high water this spring and portaging the four lower Snake River dams. Despite these challenges, what they have faced is minimal compared to what these resilient fish must endure to survive.

Their story is rooted in adventure and a love of wild rivers that gives way to shining light on the bigger picture – now is the time to act to prevent the extinction of - and recover - Pacific salmon and steelhead.

Libby Tobey, the environmental policy and climate change expert on the paddling team added, “Looking back on how many people we’ve been able to engage about this cause makes me feel unbelievably proud of our team. To speak up and do hard work to protect the rivers we love is every kayaker’s dream, and I’m so excited we’ve been able to do that.”

7. SOS is honored to partner with 'Flatstick Pub' in Kirkland, WA for their Sunday Fundraise Program!

FLATSTICK TERTIARY LOGO VERSION A COLOR31With six pubs located across western Washington State, Flatstick Pub provides a unique experience with local beer, miniature golf, and a plethora of additional games.

Flatstick Pub in Kirkland, WA recently selected SOS as their NGO/community partner. $2 from every beer and $2 from every game of mini golf sold on Sundays this month will be donated to support our work at SOS. If you live nearby, you can have fun and support wild salmon and healthy rivers by simply playing mini-golf and/or buying a beer at the Kirkland location! How great is that?

According to Flatstick, there are just two rules: drink local and have fun.

Flatstick was inspired by an idea to create a casual beer-focused pub that featured a unique and challenging miniature golf course. They’re passionate about craft beer and supporting our community. From the beginning, they have only offered beer from independent breweries located in the great state of Washington. You’ll never find corporate beer at Flatstick!

They love to have fun, drink beer, and play games. In addition to mini golf they offer original golf-themed games invented by the people of Flatstick. Duffleboard™, Ball Jockey™, and ‘stick putt!™ are three of their newest creations that you won’t find anywhere else. And who knows what they’ll come up with next.

We're proud and grateful to partner with Flatstick Pub this month! And we hope to see you there this Sunday!

news graphic8. Recent Snake River media round-up

Here are a few breaking stories from the last few weeks about the urgency and opportunity today for the Snake River and its salmon:

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