The Wild Salmon & Steelhead News is the Save Our Wild Salmon Coalition’s (sort of) monthly online newsletter with highlights about the status of endangered wild Columbia and Snake River salmonids, and our campaign to restore them to healthy, abundant, and fishable populations through a comprehensive approach that includes the removal of the four lower Snake River dams.  For more listings of news items please view Wild Salmon in the Media.
April 2009
I. Lower Snake River among American Rivers’ 2009 Most Endangered Rivers (MER).
The time for comprehensive solution for salmon, energy, and communities is now.

Every spring, Save Our Wild Salmon’s partner American Rivers releases a “Top Ten” list of the nation’s most endangered rivers. On Tuesday, April 7, the 2009 MER Report identified the Lower Snake River among the nation’s most endangered, behind the Sacramento-San Joaquin just behind the Sacramento-San Joaquin River in California (#1) and the Flint River in Georgia (#2).
From their press release:
Four dams on the lower Snake River are driving salmon to the brink of extinction while preventing the Northwest from embracing 21st Century energy and transportation opportunities.
American Rivers and its partners called on the Obama administration and the Northwest congressional delegation to convene negotiations to forge a river restoration plan that will work for communities and salmon in light of the threats posed by the dams and global warming. Removing the four dams and restoring a free-flowing lower Snake River will not only revive salmon runs and a multi-million dollar fishery, it will eliminate a growing flood threat in Lewiston, Idaho and create an opportunity to modernize the region’s transportation and energy systems.
“Taking out the four lower Snake River dams and giving an endangered river a much needed chance to recover is smart business” said Paul Fish, CEO of Mountain Gear, an outdoor retail company based in Spokane, Wash. “A restored Snake River would mean abundant salmon, more outdoor recreation and fishing opportunities, and more jobs for the Northwest. Let’s restore this river so it works for people and for salmon and transform an endangered Snake River into a working Snake River.”

II. More than 70 Members of the House of Representatives send a letter to President Obama: Restore science, follow the law, and involve stakeholders to solve the salmon crisis!
In the first week of April, 72 Members of Congress called on President Obama for leadership to protect and restore wild salmon and steelhead in the Pacific Northwest's Columbia-Snake River Basin.  In the letter, led by Congressman Jim McDermott (D-WA), Congressman Earl Blumenauer (D-OR), and Congressman Tom Petri (R-WI), Members of Congress expressed a willingness to work with President Obama to “identify and implement common-sense solutions that protect salmon, save taxpayer dollars, and reinvest in American jobs and infrastructure.” After eight years of bad salmon policy from the Bush Administration, it’s clear Members of Congress are ready to stand up and solve the Columbia-Snake River salmon crisis once and for all.

III. 80+ Pacific Coast Fishing and Salmon Advocates to President Obama: The White House needs a  “Salmon Director”!
More than 80 commercial and recreational fishing associations and conservation organizations sent a letter calling on President Obama to create a high-level Salmon Director position in the White House’s Council on Environmental Quality (CEQ) to restore West Coast salmon populations, protect fishing jobs and rebuild the salmon economy.
The Salmon Director would be responsible for developing, coordinating and executing federal salmon restoration policy in the Pacific salmon states. Fishing and conservation leaders who signed the letter represent the six Pacific salmon states: California, Oregon, Washington, Idaho, Nevada and Alaska.
“The creation of a high-level Salmon Director position within the White House would send a strong signal to our fishing communities that things have really changed,” Zeke Grader, Executive Director of Pacific Coast Federation of Fishermen’s Association (PCFFA), said. “We need to see that the new administration is committed to correcting past failures and putting salmon and salmon fishing families on the road to recovery.
The Salmon Director position would be empowered to reverse harmful policies by ensuring that scientific integrity is restored to federal decision-making processes. Groups say a tough, no-nonsense director is what is needed; someone capable of coordinating actions of multiple agencies, working with stakeholders, and who understands the importance of the iconic salmon to the West Coast for food and jobs, recreation and commerce, and the region's cultural heritage.
Collapsed populations in the Klamath and Sacramento Rivers and extremely low returns to the Columbia-Snake in the last several years have forced unprecedented closures for ocean fisheries off the coast of Oregon and California — leaving boats docked and crushing coastal and rural communities. As a result of last year’s closures, fishing communities and allied businesses lost more than $290 million, thousands of fishermen and fishing-related business workers lost their jobs.
The Pacific Fisheries Management Council, the government body that regulates salmon fishing on the West Coast is expected to close much of the West Coast ocean fishery this year in order to protect severely depressed Sacramento River salmon runs.


IV. New Report: Bright Future - How to keep the Northwest's lights on, jobs growing, goods moving and salmon swimming in the era of climate change.
The NW Energy Coalition, the Sierra Club, and Save Our Wild Salmon recently released an exciting report with big implications.  The report, called Bright Future, shows that the four-state region of the Northwest (Washington, Oregon, Idaho, and Montana) has ample, affordable energy conservation and renewable energy resources to serve future power needs and fulfill our climate responsibilities, reviving our economy and creating thousands of good local jobs along the way.  Success with this effort in the Northwest may provide a model for clean energy plans in other regions across the country.
The paper explains how, with federal and regional leadership, the Northwest electric power system can:
•    Meet future energy demands
•    Restore wild salmon to our rivers and ocean
•    Help the transportation sector slash its global-warming emissions
•    Reduce its own carbon emissions at least 15% by 2020 and 80% or more by 2050
•    Create thousands of family-wage jobs and build local and regional economies

By building a true clean energy future we can power the Northwest without burning coal, save endangered salmon in the Columbia and Snake Rivers, and reinvigorate our regional economy.

V. In the Oregonian: Former Secretary of Interior/Idaho Governor Cecil Andrus sends his advice to President Obama about how to save Northwest salmon and communities.
On Sunday, April 5, the Oregonian (based in Portland, OR) published an op-ed by the former Secretary of Interior and former Governor of Idaho Cecil Andrus. Mr. Andrus strongly urges the Obama Administration to tackle the Columbia-Snake River salmon crisis with a science-driven process that includes “fishermen, farmers, energy users, and the towns that depend upon them.”
Right now, as we all wait for a ruling from Judge Redden on the validity of the federal government's 2008 Salmon Plan, Mr. Andrus' advice is both well-timed and much-needed.
There are win-win solutions available that will restore our sectors, and in clean, affordable, and salmon-friendly energy. We can save salmon, create jobs, and protect taxpayers. At a critical time for endangered Columbia and Snake River salmon, however, we need the political leadership to move us forward toward resolution.


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