Wild 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 Carrie Herrman.
3. 'HOT WATER REPORT 2022' is now available!
4. 'Artists Against Extinction' - creative collaboration is helping advance campaign to free the Snake River
5. SOS travels to Washington D.C. to support Northwest tribes and salmon recovery
6. Hundreds 'Rally for Salmon' in Portland on 6/25 to free the Snake River!
1. Sen. Murray and Gov. Inslee’s draft report comment period closes.
The 30-day comment period for Sen. Patty Murray & Gov. Jay Inslee’s draft report on how to replace the services provided by the four lower Snake River dams closed on July 11.
A huge thanks to all who were able to submit comment and/or respond via an action alert!
SOS' supporters alone submitted more than 2,000 individual comments in support of urgently restoring the lower Snake River and its fish - and replacing the services currently provided by the dams. And we understand that tens of thousands of additional comments were also submitted by members/supporters of many of SOS' partner organizations.
In addition to helping organize several thousand 'citizen comments', Save Our wild Salmon drafted and submitted this detailed comment letter concerning the Draft Report that was joined by 45 allied Northwest and national organizations who support restoring the lower Snake River and its salmon as part of a comprehensive regional solution.
What's next? We now expect a Final LSR Dams Benefits Replacement Report to be issued in late July / early August followed by a roadmap for salmon recovery from Sen. Murray and Gov. Inslee – including a decision about whether to remove the dams and replace their services – soon afterward. Stay tuned - and we will keep you posted!
2. Biden Administration issues two key reports re: salmon recovery and energy replacement
On July 12, the Biden Administration released two important reports with critical implications for our efforts to restore the lower Snake River and its endangered fish. The first report provides an up-to-date summary of salmon science for the Columbia-Snake River Basin and the second explores the feasibility of replacing the energy services currently provided by the four federal dams on the lower Snake River. Importantly, both federal reports corroborate other recent reports and analyses - including the core findings of the Draft Report issued last month by Sen. Murray and Gov. Inslee.
'Rebuilding Interior Columbia Basin Salmon and Steelhead' was produced by NOAA. The report makes clear that we need to breach the dams as part of a comprehensive strategy and that we need to take action now - as time is not on our side. "For Snake River stocks, it is essential that the lower Snake River be restored via dam breaching (page 12)." And footnote 10 reiterates, "Breaching is specifically recommended for the four lower Snake River dams."
In the federal press release announcing these reports, CEQ Chair, Brenda Mallory states, “Business as usual will not restore the health and abundance of Pacific Northwest salmon. We need a durable, inclusive, and regionally-crafted long-term strategy for the management of the Columbia River Basin." The second report focuses on energy replacement - and its analysis by consulting firm E3 confirms what several other studies have shown: we can develop a portfolio of clean energy resources to replace the lower Snake River dams' energy services. This is the same core finding of the recent Draft Report from Sen. Murray and Gov. Inslee as well as the recent analysis from Energy Strategies - Lower Snake River Dam Replacement Study (May 2022) - commissioned by SOS member organization NW Energy Coalition. Policymakers have all the information they need on clean energy system development for the Northwest to make decisions and begin to move forward urgently on a comprehensive plan to remove these dams and replace their energy and other services - and restore this river and its fish!
Read more about these new federal reports here:
- Seattle Times: White House weighs in on lower Snake River dam breaching in an unusual power-play
- Northwest News Service: Federal report recommends breaching lower Snake River dams to save salmon
- White House Press Release: Federal Agencies Announce Two New Analyses to Help Inform Restoration of Columbia River Basin Salmon and Long-Term Energy Planning in the Pacific Northwest
- NOAA Fisheries Report: Rebuilding Interior Columbia Basin Salmon and Steelhead
3. Save Our wild Salmon's 'HOT WATER REPORT 2022' is now available!
In June, SOS began publishing our 7th Annual HOT WATER REPORT. This weekly series tracks water temperatures in real-time through the summer in the lower Snake and lower Columbia River reservoirs - and highlight how increasingly hot waters harm cold-water-reliant salmon and steelhead. In each report, we'll include content on the status of salmon and steelhead returns, recent developments, and actions that state and federal agencies must take to ensure safer, healthier rivers, and streams that protect and restore salmon and steelhead in the Columbia Basin requires.
The once-unimaginably abundant anadromous fish of the Snake River Basin are struggling to survive today primarily due to the harmful effects of eight federal dams and reservoirs on the lower Snake and lower Columbia rivers. The changing climate is worsening these conditions and increasing the need for bold, urgent action. During the summer of 2015, for example, approximately 250,000 adult sockeye salmon were killed as they returned from the Pacific Ocean en route to their natal rivers and streams in the Columbia-Snake River Basin. Just last year, thousands of returning adult salmon died before they could spawn due to the deadly hot waters in lower Columbia and lower Snake River reservoirs. Four wild Snake River sockeye reached their home waters in Idaho's Stanley Basin and Snake River steelhead saw some of their lowest returns in history this past year, forcing emergency fishing closures in Washington and Oregon.
As of July 14, 2022, the lower Snake River registered harmful water temperatures for salmon and steelhead. The reservoir behind the Little Goose Dam registered the highest temperature at 68.72°F on July 15th and the Ice Harbor Dam reservoir registered the second highest temperature at 68.54°F on July 18th. The longer temperatures remain above 68°F and the higher the temperatures rise above 68°F, the more severe the potential effects, including increased metabolism, increased susceptibility to disease, reduced fecundity or reproductive potential, and/or death. Scientists expect these harmful temperatures in the lower Snake River to warm further and persist through at least the end of August.
- This year's first HOT WATER REPORT describes how the Snake and Columbia river reservoirs harm endangered salmon and steelhead.
- Our second HOT WATER REPORT reports on the benefits of dam removal as a cost-effective salmon recovery strategy.
- Our third HOT WATER REPORT focuses on historical and recent adult returns of wild salmon and steelhead to the Snake River Basin.
- Our fourth HOT WATER REPORT dives into how dam removal will significantly reduce water temperatures in the lower Snake River.
This year's HOT WATER REPORT is a joint project of the Save Our wild Salmon Coalition, Columbia Riverkeeper, American 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.
4. 'Artists Against Extinction' - creative collaboration helps advance campaign to free the Snake River.
This year Save Our wild Salmon launched an exciting project: Northwest Artists Against Extinction. NWAAE is a creative collaboration between artists and advocates who value healthy rivers and salmon abundance, and our partnership is inspiring and engaging people in new ways to support our campaign to restore the Snake and its salmon.
Art is essential to the fabric and identity of the Pacific Northwest - no different than salmon and orcas. So it makes sense that artists would team up with advocates to connect with others to get involved.
Over the past several months, artist-partners have produced amazing art to raise awareness around the campaign. They've posted inspiring blogs and created wonderful educational resources - including stickers, t-shirts, posters, and print-out coloring pages, and curriculum for teachers.
This spring, we worked with, among others, Ray Troll and Alfredo Arreguin to produce and display beautiful billboards in Portland, OR and Spokane, WA. Gabrielle Abbott created striking art in a public space in Seattle and she produced a "live art piece" - a 6 x 6 foot mural on canvas - during the 'Rally for Salmon' in Portland in June. Gabrielle's mural - which we gifted to Julian Matthews and Nimiipuu Protecting the Environment - traveled to Washington D.C. in July along with Eileen Klatt and her moving collection of 61 salmon and steelhead populations that we've lost in the Columbia and Snake rivers and their tributaries.
Visit the NWAAE website to "meet" the participating artists and be inspired by their amazing artwork.
ARE YOU AN ARTIST IN THE SPOKANE AREA? We recently posted this Request for Proposal (RFP) for artists interested in teaming up with Save Our wild Salmon to create a public mural in Spokane, WA in August/September 2022. If you have questions or are interested in learning more, contact SOS' Policy and Advocacy Director Tanya Riordan at email@example.com
5. SOS travels to Washington D.C. to support Northwest Tribes and salmon recovery
During the week of July 11, SOS’ executive director Joseph Bogaard and policy and advocacy director Tanya Riordan traveled to Washington D.C. to support and participate in the Tribal-led Salmon Orca Project’s ‘Day of Advocacy’ to speak up on behalf of endangered salmon in the Snake River and across the Columbia Basin.
We were proud to be there to support the Tribes and their leadership as they advocated for salmon abundance and upholding our nation's promises based on 150-year-old treaty rights. On the morning of July 14, we (along with several hundred others!) participated in a Salmon Orca Project-organized rally on the Capitol Mall. They also hosted a reception in the evening attended by Tribal leaders, NGO supporters, and House and Senate staff and policymakers. Besides these two events, Tanya and Joseph jumped from one meeting to the next - in the House, Senate, and West Wing of the White House. During our three days on the Hill, we met with seven Northwest Congressional offices; greeted a number of policymakers; and had one meeting with White House officials from the Council on Environmental Quality.
This was our first in-person visit to the nation’s capitol in several years due to COVID-related restrictions. It was great to connect and reconnect in person with congressional staff and policymakers (Zoom meetings are great, but do have their limitations!) The messages in our meetings were clear and consistent: we’re in a moment of both great urgency and opportunity – but time is not on our side; the science and law require urgent action; the economics and analyses demonstrate that replacing the lower Snake River dams services is feasible and affordable – and we need leadership by policymakers in the Northwest and in D.C. this year to develop and begin to implement a comprehensive regional plan that includes LSR dam removal.
6. Hundreds gather in Portland (OR) on 6/25 to 'Rally for Salmon' and free the Snake River
The 'Rally for Salmon' in Portland on June 25th was a fantastic success! More than 300 people attended - Tribal members, conservationists, business people, recreational fishing men and women, boaters, orca and clean energy advocates, and many more. In the morning, nearly 100 canoes, sportfishing boats, kayaks, rafts, and paddle boards gathered for a procession on the Willamette River. This was led by Nez Perce Tribal member Angus Lukas and the ‘7 Waters Canoe Family’ and culminated with a coordinated ‘banner lift’ calling on our public officials to “Stop Salmon Extinction”, “Stand with Tribes”, and “Free the Snake River!” At mid-day, nearly 300 people gathered to hear from a set of Northwest leaders -
- Chair Kat Brigham and Keeyan Singer and Nizhoni Toledo of the Youth Leadership Council - of the Confederated Tribes of the Umatilla Indian Reservation
- Yakama Nation Councilmember Jeremy Takala, 'Miss Yakama Nation' Ellia-Lee Jim and 'Junior Miss Yakama Nation' Tehya Underwood, and
- Jim McKenna, Natural Resource Advisor to Oregon Governor Kate Brown.
They all spoke powerfully, movingly, and eloquently about the importance of healthy salmon populations, the irreplaceable benefits they bring to our region, the urgency and opportunity of our current moment - and the need to act boldly and quickly to recover salmon abundance and restore the lower Snake River.
Special thanks to the 'Four Directions' drum group for their blessing songs at the start and end of our program. After the speakers, Backbone Campaign organized more than 100 people to form a human orca mural. Click here to view a photo gallery and get a sense of the atmosphere, activities, and attendees.
Read more about the event in Northwest Sportsman Magazine. Were you able to attend the 'Rally for Salmon'? Share your thoughts on the event, any photos you’ve taken, or quotes you’d like to share with our amazing partners on your experience - reach out to firstname.lastname@example.org.