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 Carrie Herrman.


1. Murray / Inslee Snake River Salmon Initiative: Complete online survey today!
2. Food Professionals’ send letter to Gov. Inslee and Sens. Murray and Cantwell
3. Southern Resident orcas: good news and bad news
4. Highlights from the Washington State legislative session
5. YOU'RE INVITED! Upcoming #StopSalmonExtinction events!
6. Become an ‘Artist Against Extinction’! SPEAK4SALMON’ by creating and delivering artwork to our public officials
7. ACT NOW! We've updated our Action Alert webpage

1. Murray / Inslee Snake River Salmon Initiative: Complete online survey today!

Note: On April 1, just 121 days remain before July 31st - the deadline established by Sen. Murray and Gov. Inslee for their 'Snake River Salmon Initiative' - and the separate but simultaneous settlement talks the Biden Administration has joined with the Nez Perce Tribe, State of Oregon and conservation/fishing plaintiffs led by Earthjustice for the purpose of settling the long-running litigation and protecting and restoring endangered salmon and steelhead populations in the Snake and Columbia rivers. Last year, U.S. Sen. Patty Murray and Washington State Gov. Jay Inslee acknowledged the extinction crisis facing Snake River fish and committed themselves to develop, by 7/31/2022, a comprehensive plan to protect and restore these imperiled populations. As a key near-term step in the process, they are now working closely with the region’s tribes, many stakeholders, and other experts to produce a draft report by May that identifies how to replace the energy, irrigation, and transportation services currently provided by the dams. While Sen. Murray and Gov. Inslee have not (yet!) committed to a plan that includes dam removal, they have put this option at the center of discussions today. Their report will be a crucial resource for understanding our options for replacing the dams' services and developing a plan that truly protects salmon from extinction, helps feed hungry orcas, and upholds our nation’s promises to Northwest tribes in a manner that moves everyone forward together. Last month, they posted an online survey and invited people to share their thoughts about Snake River dam removal and salmon recovery. This survey is one important part of the Murray/Inslee Snake River Initiative to determine how to restore endangered salmon as they consider removing the four Snake River dams and replacing their services with alternatives. PLEASE COMPLETE THIS SURVEY TODAY – AND ENCOURAGE YOUR FRIENDS AND FAMILY TO DO THE SAME! We need your help to demonstrate strong public support for leadership by Sen. Murray and Gov. Inslee and their commitment to develop a comprehensive plan by July 2022 to protect/restore wild salmon and steelhead that includes lower Snake River dam removal.

Everyone can fill out the survey; it is not limited to Washington State residents.  Sen. Murray and Gov. Inslee have said they will announce their findings with an actionable plan by July 31, 2022. In mid-May, they will issue a draft report about how the services provided by the dams can be replaced. That will be followed by a public input process in mid-May through mid-June. It is important to engage with their initiative at every opportunity possible.

Their decision in July will determine whether Snake River salmon will go extinct or recover. To learn more about the Survey and to complete it: visit our Murray/Inslee ‘Snake River Salmon Initiative’ Survey Resource Page.

2. Food Professionals’ send letter to Gov. Inslee and Sens. Murray and Cantwell

In recognition of the extinction crisis facing many Northwest salmon populations today, more than 225 food professionals - chefs, brewers, market owners, farmers, fishermen, and others from across Washington State – sent a letter on March 9th to Gov. Jay Inslee, Sen. Patty Murray, and Sen. Maria Cantwell. The signers of the letter recognize that for them, “salmon is much more than a fish; it is one of our most valued business partners.” The letter thanks these policymakers for their past efforts to protect salmon and asks for their “continued leadership at this moment of great urgency and opportunity.”

The letter stresses that urgent work is needed in 2022 to prevent further extinction and to restore salmon abundance in the Snake River Basin in a manner that brings everyone – including farmers, fishermen, and other food producers - forward together.

For decades, fishing and farming communities have needlessly been at odds while salmon populations have edged ever closer to extinction. Chef Renee Erickson, chef and co-owner of Seattle’s Sea Creature Restaurants: “Chefs need foods produced by both farmers and fishers to create meals for our customers. I want to source foods as close to home as I can for my restaurants – so we need policies that will provide fishermen and farmers alike greater certainty and the opportunity to thrive.”

The letter closes with a call to action: “We need new policies and programs in 2022 that will provide both fisherman and farmer greater certainty and the opportunity to thrive. We ask you to seize the window of opportunity before us to develop and deliver a comprehensive investment package that restores the lower Snake River, recovers healthy salmon populations, and keeps farmers and fishermen gainfully employed and feeding our communities.”

Learn more about this project and read the letter and the press release here.

And, finally, here are two ways you can join this effort spearheaded by our food community:

(1) Support the restaurants and other businesses that signed the Washington Food Professionals letter.

(2) Contact Governor Inslee and Senator Murray; and Senator Cantwell; Thank them for their past leadership on salmon recovery - and express your strong support for a comprehensive plan in 2022 that restores the Snake River and moves everyone forward together!

3. Southern Resident orcas: Good news and bad news

orca.aerialEarly March brought a piece of good news for endangered Southern Resident orcas, tempered, unfortunately, by some bad news. On the positive side, researchers announced on March 1 that J pod had a new calf, born to the orca mother J37; the calf is identified as J59 and brought the total population of Southern Residents to 74 whales. But the other two expectant mothers in J pod, J19, and J36, appear to have lost the calves they were carrying. Scientists John Durban and Holly Fearnbach, of the marine mammal research and rescue nonprofit SR3, told the Seattle Times, “A calving rate of 1/3 of the documented pregnancies will, unfortunately, be consistent with the high rate of reproductive loss that has been documented in recent years…[R]eproductive loss has become normal for this population.” Depressed numbers of chinook salmon - the orcas’ principal food source - has been identified, along with pollution and underwater noise, as a primary factor in the endangerment of the whales. Protecting and restoring the Southern Resident orcas depends upon - urgently - protecting and restoring the chinook salmon upon which they depend!

4. Highlights from the Washington State legislative session

Capitol Building OlympiaDuring the recent now-adjourned 2022 Washington State legislative Session, the Save Our wild Salmon Coalition worked with partners and allies to advance salmon recovery efforts on a number of fronts. The results from this short session were mixed. The Lorraine Loomis Act that was advanced by the Governor's Office and with widespread support from tribes and the conservation community encountered headwinds and did not pass out of committee. This legislation would have greatly strengthened riparian protections on the state's rivers and streams. While bill did not advance this session, these important efforts will continue and are expected to resurface in the 2023 session.

Importantly, salmon, fishing and orca advocates were able to secure critically important funding for the 'Snake River Dams Service Replacement Report' that is now underway as part of the Murray/Inslee Initiative (See story above).

Last October, Sen Murray and Gov. Inslee announced their regional collaboration to develop this year a comprehensive, long-term strategy to protect and restore imperiled salmon and steelhead populations in the Columbia/Snake River Basins.

Earlier this year, the Governor retained a consultant to work with tribes, stakeholders and other regional experts to develop a thorough report identifying options to replace the services currently provided by the dams. This process should consider all options needed to transition dam services and restore the lower Snake River.

We are pleased the Washington State Legislature approved funding - $375,000 - in order to support this process. The report should be available in draft form in May and represents a crucial step toward developing the comprehensive regional plan that can both restore this historic river and its imperiled fish and make investments in communities and infrastructure in a manner that moves everyone forward together.

For more information about the Murray/Inslee process, and to provide feedback about this process, visit https://www.lsrdoptions.org/

5. YOU'RE INVITED! Upcoming #StopSalmonExtinction events!

Social Media GraphicWe need your help! For those of you who are able to get involved and help us take advantage of this current moment of urgency and opportunity, SOS and our partners and allies are organizing events and activities across the region to educate and inspire, and engage and mobilize people and policymakers to act! Without bold, urgent action, scientists expect Snake River salmon and steelhead populations to continue to decline and disappear in the next few years. (Read about the Nez Perce Tribe's alarming 2021 quasi-extinction analysis here.)

For the sake of salmon and all they bring to our region, 2022 must be the year for both decision and action! There's no time to waste to develop and begin to implement a comprehensive regional solution that protects and restores Snake River fish and invests in Northwest communities.

Join SOS and partners at this list of upcoming events to learn more, to support restoring the lower Snake River and its salmon, and to find out how to get more involved in the weeks and months ahead! Events across the region are coming quickly - in Boise on March 24, in Tacoma on March 26, in Spokane on March 31, in Olympia on April 2, and many more!

Please check out our new events webpage to learn how you can join us - to speak up for the Snake River, its wild salmon and steelhead, Southern Resident orcas, and to support Northwest tribes.

Questions about any of our upcoming events? Reach out to carrie@wildsalmon.org

6. Become an ‘Artist Against Extinction’: SPEAK4SALMON’ by creating and delivering your artwork to public officials
Earlier this year, SOS launched a new project – Northwest Artists Against Extinction (NWAAE). It’s a creative collaboration between artists and advocates.

Art is an essential part of the fabric and identity of the Pacific Northwest - just like salmon and orcas. So it makes sense that artists would team up with advocates and reach out to others to speak up on behalf of some of this region's defining species that are struggling for survival today. The Pacific Northwest is home to amazing artists – many of whom are inspired by the region’s rich lands and waters and fish and wildlife. At SOS, we are honored by the opportunity to partner with them - and highlight their artwork - to reach new people and connect with policymakers in creative and compelling ways. We launched the NWAAE website this month. Visit it to learn more and meet some of the participating artists. This project will continue to evolve – with new artists, events, public displays of art, and art-centered activities that combine education, creativity, and advocacy. Over the next several weeks, for example, we’re creating t-shirts, posters, and other “materials” featuring some of the amazing artwork from several participating artists including Ray Troll and Alfredo Arreguin, and making them available at upcoming events. You can also be an 'Artist Against Extinction'! We invite you and your friends, family members, and classmates to SPEAK4SALMON – by creating your own artwork and delivering it via social media and old-fashioned mail to policymakers in the Northwest and in Washington D.C.

Visit our SPEAK4SALMON webpage to learn more, download 'salmon art' templates that you can decorate, post on social media, and send to decision-makers. This is a creative way to deliver memorable messages to public officials that salmon are important to you, that they are in serious trouble - and that we need public officials to act! We need urgent action from Congress and the Biden Administration in 2022 to stop salmon extinction and restore them to abundance!

Now is the time to restore the lower Snake River!

7. ACT NOW! We've updated our Action Alert webpage
take action copySave Our wild Salmon is working every day to protect and restore the once unimaginably abundant salmon and steelhead populations to the Northwest. A huge part of our work is ensuring our community of advocates (YOU!) has the resources to contact the Northwest and federal leaders and decision-makers.

We’ve recently updated our action alerts. Please follow this link to reach out to your public officials today - and ask them for their active, urgent leadership to restore the Snake River!

Visit our 'Take Action' webpage today! Thank you!


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