I. A report on Northwest Public "Hearings" on salmon and dams so far

II. Rally to ‘Free the Snake!’ - attend public hearings in November in Spokane, Lewiston, Walla Walla, and Boise!

III. The death of two endangered Southern Resident orcas trigger renewed calls for dam removal

IV. TAKE ACTION – Submit your comments today!

V. VOTE – Tuesday, Nov. 8!

I. A report on Northwest Public "Hearings" on salmon and dams so far
Despite federal agency efforts, last spring’s court ruling and this fall's NEPA Hearings have moved lower Snake River dam removal front and center as a discussion topic in the Pacific Northwest and beyond.

As you’ll recall, last May U.S. District Court Judge Michael Simon soundly rejected the federal agencies’ latest plan to protect endangered wild salmon and steelhead from deadly dams on the Columbia and Snake Rivers. He found it inadequate and illegal and in violation of the Endangered Species Act and National Environmental Policy Act. He’s ordered a new science-based and legally valid plan and a NEPA Review that fully and fairly analyzes all recovery alternatives – including lower Snake River dam removal.

hearing.wenatcA first step by the agencies is being taken this fall – a series of 15 Public Meetings – has begun. Seven meetings have been held in communities on the banks of the Columbia River and tributaries high in this watershed - including Wenatchee and Coulee Dam in WA, Priest Lake and Bonner's Ferry in ID, and Kalispell and Missoula in MT.

Though an essential purpose of NEPA Scoping Meetings is to solicit meaningful input from the public to guide the agencies in their analyses of alternatives and to highlight key issues, BPA, Army Corps and the Bureau of Reclamation seem more focused on promoting their standard propaganda while discouraging meaningful public input and community dialogue. Despite an earlier request by 33 organizations and business associations  to start them after Jan. 1, 2017, they've insisted on holding the hearings during the presidential election cycle and holiday season.

Despite – and perhaps because of the agencies’ disappointing approach – it is more important than ever that people attend hearings near their home and submit public comment. Ensure your voice is heard! Join fellow salmon, steelhead, fishing, river, orca, clean energy and taxpayer advocates and speak up for a lawful plan, for healthy salmon and steelhead and for a free-flowing Snake River.

II. Rally to ‘Free the Snake!’ - Join us in November for public hearings in Spokane, Lewiston, Walla Walla, and Boise!   Salmon and river advocates of all stripes are gearing up to send a strong message to the agencies and our elected officials locally and our nation’s capitol. We hope you’ll join us!  It is essential that people stand up and be counted. Here are some details and contacts for further information:

free.the.snakeSpokane, WA – Nov. 14 – contact: Sam Mace

Lewiston, ID –  Nov. 16 – contact: Sam Mace

Walla Walla, WA – Nov. 17 – contact: Sam Mace

Boise, ID – Nov. 29 – contact: Greg Stahl

Additional hearings will be held in Seattle (Dec. 1), The Dalles (Dec. 6), Portland, (Dec. 7), and Astoria (Dec. 8). Mark your calendars and join us!

We’re working with many organizations, businesses, and community and Northwest tribal members to gather near the federal hearings to share information, network, rally, take photos and video testimony, and talk about real issues before heading en masse to attend the federal agencies’ event.

Reach out if you have questions, ideas, and/or to get involved.

Here are just a few recent media stories re: the hearings, salmon populations and the lower Snake:

freethesnake.cutout-- Seattle Times: Environmental effects of Columbia, Snake river dams scrutinized

-- Spokesman Review: Pressure mounts on Lower Snake dams as fish runs sag

-- EarthFix: Taking Down Snake River Dams: It's Back On The Table

-- Spokesman Review Guest Opinion: We can restore salmon and have carbon-free energy

-- Columbia Basin Bulletin: Science Review Of Salmon Survival Study: Snake River Fish Not Meeting Smolt-To-Adult Return Goals 

III. The death of two endangered Southern Resident orcas triggers renewed calls for dam removal

orca.protestKen Balcomb, the foremost researcher on the highly endangered Southern Resident Killer Whales, announced in late October the death of Polaris (J-28), a breeding female and mother – and the impending death of her nursing 10-month year old son Dipper (J-54). These come as a terrible blow to the many people who know these whales and to the fate and future this gravely imperiled whale population - the Southern Resident Killer Whales. They simply cannot afford any additional losses. Just 80 whales remain today – their lowest number in decades. Despite being listed under the Endangered Species Act in 2006, their numbers have continued to drop and their very existence increasingly precarious.

The lack of sufficient numbers of chinook salmon today is the leading cause of their decline. “No fish. No blackfish.” Balcomb called on regional leaders and federal agencies to expedite the removal of the lower Snake River dams as an essential near-term strategy to rebuild critical Chinook populations and increase the food supply to address an increasingly urgent sitiuation. Balcomb’s press conference generated regional, national and international coverage. Just four of the more than a dozen stories so far are below.

-- NRDC BLOG: Without salmon, we lose our killer whales

-- Christian Science Monitor: Puget Sound orcas: Would removing dams save the whales?
After the death of a young female orca and her calf, researchers say that removing dams could mean more fish for whales to eat.

-- KATU TV: Researchers: Breach dams to save starving Puget Sound orcas

-- KNKX FM (formerly KPLU): Breach Snake River Dams To Save The Orcas, Researchers Say

IV. FINALLY - Submit your public comments for the NEPA Review today - HERE!

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Thank you for your support!

Joseph, Sam and the whole SOS Team





Enough said.

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