WSSNWild 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 - unless we act! Find out how SOS is helping lead efforts to restore health, connectivity, and resilience to the rivers and streams these fish depend upon in the Columbia-Snake Basin and how you can get involved to help restore healthy, abundant, and harvestable populations and sustain more just and prosperous communities. To learn more and/or get involved, contact Martha Campos.

Table of Contents
1. Celebrating the path forward: Ceremonial signing for historic Columbia River Basin Agreement.
2. Good news from the Washington State Legislature for salmon and Snake River restoration!
3. Join these upcoming salmon events (virtual and in-person)!
4. Columbia River paintings by Erik Sandgren at Maryhill Museum of Art, WA
5. Inspire change through art! Enter NWAAE / SOS' 2024 poster competition.  
6. SOS staff retreat in Seattle WA!
7. 'Spawning Season' - a poem by Tina Blade.
8. Salmon media round-up.

1. Celebrating the path forward: Ceremonial signing for historic Columbia River Basin Agreement.

On February 23, White House officials celebrated the signing of the Columbia-Snake River Basin Restoration Agreement announced in December with the ‘Six Sovereigns’ (the Confederated Tribes and Bands of the Yakama Nation, Confederated Tribes of the Umatilla Indian Reservation, Confederated Tribes of the Warm Springs Reservation, and Nez Perce Tribe, and states of Washington and Oregon).

This landmark restoration agreement, along with a multi-year stay in Snake River litigation was announced on Dec. 14, 2023, and approved by Judge Michael Simon on Feb. 8, 2024. The agreement includes U.S. Government Commitments based on a comprehensive restoration plan developed by the four lower Columbia River Treaty Tribes with Washington and Oregon. It will direct hundreds of millions of dollars to modernize infrastructure and protect and restore native fish and their habitats in the Snake and Columbia rivers and their tributaries. Planning is now underway to replace the energy, irrigation and transportation services currently provided by the lower Snake River dams as quickly as possible.

Speakers at the ceremonial signing included White House Council on Environmental Quality Chair Brenda Mallory; Nez Perce Tribal Chairman Shannon Wheeler; Confederated Tribes and Bands of the Yakama Nation Tribal Council Chair Gerald Lewis; Confederated Tribes of the Warm Springs Reservation Chair Jonathan W. Smith, Sr.; Confederated Tribes of the Umatilla Indian Reservation Board of Trustees Member, Fish and Wildlife Commission Chair, and Columbia River Inter-Tribal Fish Commission Chair Corinne Sams; Washington Governor Jay Inslee; Oregon Governor Tina Kotek; and Senior Advisor to the President for Clean Energy Innovation and Implementation John Podesta.

Watch the White House Ceremony 

December’s agreement was preceded by a Presidential Memorandum unveiled in September. It established Columbia Basin salmon recovery as a federal priority and directed federal agencies to use all their authorities to protect and restore healthy and abundant wild salmon and steelhead populations across the Columbia-Snake River Basin and to review and update any policies not aligned with that goal.

This celebration in Washington, D.C. was possible thanks to the unwavering leadership of Northwest Tribes who have long advocated for a comprehensive solution to protect salmon from extinction while investing in Northwest communities.

We applaud the Biden administration and the 'Six Sovereigns' for their leadership and partnership to restore Columbia-Snake River Basin salmon and reaching an agreement that will invest in the future for all people of the Pacific Northwest. This agreement is a critical, urgently-needed step forward. It is vital that together, we begin to envision and build a Northwest with a restored, resilient, freely flowing lower Snake River, healthy fish populations, and thriving communities.

 Recent media coverage:

Find additional media coverage and more information about the Columbia-Snake River Basin Restoration Agreement here

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2. Good news from the Washington State Legislature for salmon and Snake River restoration!

© Josh Udesen, Return, 2021, acrylic painting on birch panel, 30" x 60" 

On March 6, Save Our wild Salmon Coalition and allied NGOs secured critical funding for a new analysis necessary for advancing salmon recovery in the Snake River. Washington State Legislators approved a 2024-2025 Supplemental Operating Budget including $600,000 to identify and study recreational and conservation opportunities on the lower Snake River region to prepare for a future federal decision to authorize breaching of the four lower Snake River dams, restore the river, uphold our nation’s promises to Tribes, and recover salmon abundance. 

Save Our wild Salmon Coalition applauds Governor Inslee for including this proviso in his proposed budget, and the Legislature for ensuring the investment was approved in this year’s final state budget.

This important budget item builds on three similar analyses funded by the Legislature last year to urgently develop plans for replacing the energy, transportation and irrigation services provided today by the lower Snake River dams. Developing this recreation analysis will help inform policymakers and the public on the cultural, recreation, and ecosystem values, improvements and opportunities of a restored lower Snake River.

Funding for this analysis builds new momentum for replacing the services of these four dams and will allow the state to leverage federal cost-share funds from the U.S. Army Corps. This cost-share provision is just one part of the historic December 2023 Columbia Basin Restoration Agreement between the Biden administration and the 'Six Sovereigns' (see story above).

“We know we can replace and modernize the transportation, energy, and irrigation services of the four lower Snake River dams, and we're grateful Washington State began those important planning processes in 2023,” said Tanya Riordan, Policy and Advocacy Director with Save Our wild Salmon Coalition. “This additional recreational analysis will help to identify the cultural, recreation, and ecosystem improvements of a restored lower Snake River, significantly benefiting salmon, people, and communities across the region.”

These four analyses funded in the last two years by the Washington State Legislature, combined with the December USG Agreement, are key steps toward restoring a resilient, freely flowing lower Snake River, healthy fish populations and vibrant communities.

Learn more here:

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3. Join these upcoming salmon events (virtual and in-person)!

This year is off to a great start with lots of events and activities to educate, advocate, inspire, and build momentum for restoring the Snake River and endangered salmon and steelhead. Read on for a few reflections from recent events - and join us in upcoming events (in-person and virtual)! 

A) Sacred Salmon Town Hall, Seattle WA 

Save Our wild Salmon Coalition was honored to participate in the ’Sacred Salmon’ youth workshop and town hall last month that was organized by the Intercommunity Peace & Justice Center (IPJC) based in Washington State. This three-day event was held on the Seattle University campus Feb. 22-24. SOS’ Joseph Bogaard gave a policy presentation to more than 100 attendees - mainly high school students from Catholic high schools in Washington and Oregon. Other speakers and participating NGOs included Julian Matthews, co-founder/director of Nimiipuu Protecting the Environment, and the Reverend A.C. Churchill, executive director of Earth Ministry / Washington Interfaith Power and Light.

Two days of workshops culminated in a public town hall that included staff from the offices of Reps. Pramila Jayapal (WA-7) and Kim Schrier (WA-8). In-district staffer Santos Moreno read a statement on behalf of Congresswoman Jayapal strongly supporting restoring salmon and orca, upholding our nation’s promises to Tribes, and moving forward to implement the Columbia Basin Restoration Agreement and U.S. Government commitments that were announced last December (see stories above).

B) 'Snake River Dinner Hour' Webinar Series (Virtual!)

In February, SOS and Snake River Dinner Hour partners launched its first 2024 webinar: Federal actions and commitments to restore Snake River salmon focused on the historic 'USG Commitments Agreement' announced in December 2023. Our guest speakers included: Nez Perce Tribal Council Chairman Shannon Wheeler; Amanda Goodin, supervising senior attorney with Earthjustice’s Northwest office; Ed Bowles, Fish Division Administrator for Oregon Department of Fish and Wildlife from 2000 - 2020; Liz Hamilton, executive director for the Northwest Sportfishing Industry Association (NSIA) with 'dinner hour' host: Kayeloni Scott, Communications Director at American Rivers, and Spokane Tribal member and Nez Perce descendant

We're thankful to our guest speakers for their leadership and for informing us about the many concrete actions and commitments included in the Agreement and the ways we can support urgently needed next steps. Watch the recording of the first webinar

Keep an eye out in your inbox for more information and a recording of the March 12th ‘dinner hour’ webinar: Culture + Recreation + Ecology = benefits of a restored lower Snake River.

Join us for the next installments of Snake River Dinner Hour on April 9th and May 14th at 6:00-7:00 pm PT via Zoom! 

  • April 9: Clean energy + a restored lower Snake River = a more vibrant Northwest | Register Here
  • May 14: Getting grain to ocean ports by rail | Register Here 

Click here for more information on the 'Snake River Dinner Hour' webinar series.

'Snake River Dinner Hour' is brought to you by American Rivers, Washington Conservation Action, Idaho Conservation League, Sierra Club, and the Save Our wild Salmon Coalition.

C) March 16, 2024 - An Evening of Music Inspired by I Sing the Salmon Home by Rena Priest (Seattle, WA)

If you happen to be in the greater Seattle area, please join us on Saturday, March 16 at 7:30 pm at Town Hall Seattle (or you can join virtually) for an evening of original music inspired by the poetry anthology published last year - I Sing The Salmon Home: Poems from Washington State (Empty Bowl Press, 2023) by Rena Priest. This event is presented by Bushwick Book Club Seattle and Empty Bowl Press.

Reserve your tickets for March 16 today! 

To cap off her storied term as Washington’s sixth State Poet Laureate, Lummi tribal member Rena Priest gathered poems from more than 150 Washington poets—ranging from first graders to Tribal Elders—to celebrate the Northwest’s cherished fish in this singular anthology. Save Our wild Salmon Coalition was honored to be a partner for I Sing the Salmon Home with Ms. Priest and the good people of Empty Bowl Press.

SOS will be in attendance on Saturday and host a table with information about our program work. We hope you will join us for an inspirational gathering centered around art, song, and story—and the diverse ways in which we cherish salmon and orcas. 

D) Grab new stickers and posters at SOS' in-person events! 

At SOS, in collaboration with Northwest Artists Against Extinction (NWAAE), we're gearing up with new and beautiful materials to share with you this year. Here's a sneak peek of our new SOS and NWAAE stickers with Alyssa Eckert's Salmon Run artwork (also seen here, Run to Extinction, in our most recent poster)! We are so grateful for Alyssa's generosity to share her artwork. The creativity of NWAAE artists helps spread awareness and inspiration to restore a free-flowing Snake River and protect salmon, steelhead, and Southern Resident orcas. 

We hope you can attend our in-person events to grab new posters and stickers for yourself and for your friends and family! If you are not in the region, please check out Alyssa Eckert's shop to purchase her artwork and shop at SOS and NWAAE's official Bonfire storefront to purchase t-shirts, sweaters, mugs (and more) featuring artwork from NWAAE collaborative artists.  


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4. Columbia River paintings by Erik Sandgren at MaryHill Museum of Art, Washington. 

Erik Sandgren is a Northwest Artists Against Extinction collaborating artist whose work has made a big impact on Pacific Northwest visual arts culture. The mountains, skies, water, trees, and the people of the region have provided inspiration for his works which resonate with themes of location, memory, and myth.

Britt Freda, creative director of Northwest Artists Against Extinction, a project of SOS, recently interviewed Erik Sandgren on his upcoming exhibitions: The Columbia River: Wallula to the Sea and King Salmon: Contemporary Relief Prints.

© Erik Sandgren, woodcut Britt Freda: Erik, congratulations on your upcoming exhibitions at Maryhill Museum of Art in Goldendale, WA. The title of the show is The Columbia River: Wallula to the Sea with a companion exhibit King Salmon: Contemporary Relief Prints. Will you explain more about the origins of the exhibits, and how they came to fruition?

Erik Sandgren: This exhibit represents the cultural dynamic and physical realities of the Columbia River from Wallula to the Sea. I’m honored to have been selected to produce work for the show. I have seventeen pieces of the seventy final selections, additional works were commissioned by contemporary artists, and quite a few pieces borrowed from collectors and institutions, as well as from Maryhill’s permanent collection. The diversity makes for an engaging exhibit. It touches on so very many frames of reference.

The companion show comprises contemporary prints representing King Salmon. I’m pleased to be in this one also, with black and white woodcut prints. Together they are the brainchild of Maryhill’s Curator of Art, Steve Grafe. Manifesting his vision over the last decade, these shows respectfully ground the museum collections, exhibits, and programming in the Columbia River Plateau.

The Friday night opening is an RSVP $50 event for non-members. The exhibitions are open all day on Friday until 5:00 and on Saturday until 5:00 too.

BF: You mentioned painting along the Columbia River over a two year period for this exhibit. That sounds like an incredible way to gather source material and inspiration! Say more about that journey and what that creative experience meant for you as an artist, an environmental advocate, and as a human being.

ES: Well, part of the inspiration was in the confidence of the curator to commission work based on his evaluation of my track record as a painter and then NOT stipulate what needed to be painted. I plunged in by visiting places I hadn’t been previously, revisiting some favorite locations. I plagued Astoria historian and songwriter Hobe Ktyr for historical information and we poured over maps and place names as he expanded my acquaintance and corrected my misinformation about the River. Hobe sent me digital versions of Cleveland Rockwell’s gorgeous 19th-century charts with topographical additions, and I began to get a better idea about the lower reaches of the River and all the changes that beavering industry has made to its margins in the last century or so. This was all on top of a couple of decades of painting the Columbia here and there from my perch in Aberdeen, Washington, while delving into Native American cultures and accounts of early [European] settlers.

BF: The exhibit is on view from March 15 - November 15, 2024. Beyond visiting the Maryhill Museum of Art, and spending some contemplative time near the Columbia River, are there other “must-sees” or “must-dos” you recommend people don’t miss while in the area?

ES: Walking about the Klickitat River gorge a couple of miles up from Lyle is always an inspiration for me personally. I also like the trails at Catherine Creek a few miles downriver from Lyle - especially when Camas is in bloom during April. In fact, leaving the River for a few miles inland, by car or foot is always a revelation. Big as it seems, the Columbia River is dwarfed by its drainage. Always a shock to appreciate from up high–the rugged landscapes it traverses. You get an awesome sense of the enormity of the Shield lava flows and the Missoula Flood cataclysms that shaped the landscape we are familiar with in this little spot of time. There’s something for every visitor, from art to wine to sailboarding and many worthwhile historical markers for clues to our collective history. The Gorge Discovery Center and Museum near the Dalles and the Columbia Gorge Interpretive Center near Stevenson provide good context.

Read the full interview on Northwest Artist Against Extinction website

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5. Inspire change through art! Enter NWAAE / SOS' 2024 poster competition.  

Inspire change through art! Enter Northwest Artists Against Extinction and Save Our Wild Salmon Coalition’s 2024 Poster CompetitionCreate something stunning and get it to us before Earth Day (April 22), 2024!

Top designs will be used in NWAAE and SOS promotional materials and posters (similar to our Alyssa Eckert poster seen here). NWAAE and SOS may incorporate poster language that calls for support to restore healthy and abundant salmon, steelhead, and Southern Resident orca populations, including phrases similar, but not limited to: Stop Salmon Extinction, Save the Orca, Protect the Sacred, Honor Treaties, Honor People and Salmon. NWAAE and SOS plan to print a collection of posters to encourage people to 'VOTE in 2024' with consideration for the health of the planet and all the people and species that depend on sustainable ecosystems.

For more details, check us out at and on Instagram @nwartistsagainstextinction. Share the opportunity widely.

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6. SOS staff retreat in Seattle, WA! 

Photo 1: The SOS team (Joseph Bogaard, Britt Freda, LeeAnne Beres, Tanya Riordan, Abby Dalke, Marc Sullivan, and Martha Campos) standing behind SOS's new banner. Photo 2: The SOS team enjoys a happy hour with our good friends and coalition members, Abbie Abramovich (Idaho Conservation League), Matt Joyce (NW Energy Coalition), Jacqueline Koch (National Wildlife Federation), and Rein Attemann (Washington Conservation Action).  

Gloomy, rainy, and snowy weather couldn’t keep SOS staff from attending a well-needed staff retreat! With SOS staff located around Washington State, Oregon, and California, so we were especially grateful to see each other in person earlier this month. With much enthusiasm, we launched into discussion and planning for our goals for 2024 and beyond, with the ultimate goal of uplifting recent developments to protect and restore the Northwest’s native fish and making new progress toward restoring the lower Snake River and upholding our nation’s promises to the region’s Tribes.

Our two-day retreat started with a celebration of entering a historic and critical new phase in the campaign to support full and timely implementation of the USG Commitments Agreement (see article 1 and article 2) while also making further progress to build public and political support for additional urgent actions needed to rebuild salmon abundance across the Pacific Northwest. We are grateful for your support, active participation, and continuous engagement in moving our elected officials to realize a Pacific Northwest with resilient rivers, abundant fish and wildlife populations, and healthy communities.

The SOS team left the retreat inspired and energized, reflecting on your support, the new ahead, and seeing our good friends and SOS coalition members, Idaho Conservation League, NW Energy Coalition, National Wildlife Federation, and Washington Conservation Action, during a happy hour.

We have critical work ahead of us and time is short. We’re so thankful for your support and advocacy to move our important, collective work forward! Stay tuned for several ways you can be involved this year and reach out for any reason.

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7. Spawning Season, a poem by Tina Blade.

 © Sarah Koten, Flow, 2022, oil on canvas 9" x 12"You are built for this
swim up river, over rock
that turns you ugly.
Home is the question
now striking your body's
ancient gong, a beginning
you don’t remember
but can smell in the waters
you move through.

Your answer is pure
effort: a breach, a thrash,
a dog-toothed grin, a bright
slash bent on closing
the distance, your purpose
pressed tight as scales
to tarnished skin.

When you finally arrive, what you are
pours from you—soft, pink beads
roll on the river bottom. Each one
a memory, a mirror, a stopwatch—
the track of every place you’ve been,
the map of where to go
from here.

Tina Blade’s Spawning Season first appeared in Bracken magazine. Blade currently lives in Duvall, Washington, east of Seattle in the Snoqualmie River Valley. Her work has appeared in Apple Valley Review, The Moth, Sweet Tree Review, Pontoon Poetry, Still Point Arts Quarterly, Calyx, Mid-American Review, Menacing Hedge, and elsewhere. A nominee for a 2022 Pushcart Prize, she is currently working on her chapbook, Broken Blue Egg. A special thank you to Tina for sharing her poem with us all! 

Do you have a salmon, river, and orca poem or story and would like to have it featured in an upcoming next newsletter? Send it to; we'll do our best to include it.

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8. Salmon media roundup. 

Here are some recent stories about the urgency and opportunity today for salmon recovery and river restoration:



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