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. Thank you to all who ‘GaveBIG’ this month!
2. A dedication to Jim Lichatowich, salmon and river advocate. 
3. Big River Book Launch Tour – attend an event near you in June! 
4. Join the 'All Our Relations: Tribute to the Orca' on June 12 in Seattle, WA!
5. Announcing SOS and NWAAE’s 2024 poster competition winners! 
6. Columbia River Inter-Tribal Fish Commission (CRITFC) receives a federal grant to support their Tribal Energy Vision!
7. Celebrate World Fish Migration Day on May 25 with a poem from 'I Sing The Salmon Home: Poems from Washington State'!
8. Salmon media & resources round-up.

 1. Thank you to all who ‘GaveBIG’ this month!

Earlier this month, as part of GiveBIG – the annual day of giving organized in Washington State - we reached out to you - our SOS community, to ask for your support. The response was amazing and we are so very grateful! This year, we announced a very generous match challenge of $15,000, and asked you to help us take full advantage of the opportunity. With your generosity, we met this match and then some! For GiveBIG this year, we raised over $33,000 (including the match) – with 121 online donations and 15 gifts arriving via mail. This was our most successful GiveBIG fund drive ever!

A huge thank you to our very generous match donor – and to everyone who was able to make a gift this month and allow us to meet it. As ever, SOS’ successes to rebuild healthy salmon and steelhead populations and protect and restore their rivers and watersheds depend upon the advocacy, energy, and support of our community. Thank you for being an essential part of our community and for your very important contributions to our collective and collaborative work!

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2. A dedication to Jim Lichatowich, salmon and river advocate. 

“Salmon are part of the natural commons; they belong to all of us, and we have a shared responsibility to ensure their persistence. This collective responsibility can bring citizens of a community together for a common purpose.” ​– Jim Lichatowich

Save Our wild Salmon Coalition is saddened to hear the passing of longtime salmon and river advocate and scientist, Jim Lichatowich.

Jim worked on Pacific salmon issues as a researcher, manager, and scientific advisor for many years. He worked for the Oregon Department of Fish and Wildlife holding positions of Chief of Fisheries Research and Assistant Chief of Fisheries. He served on the Independent Scientific Review Panel, Oregon's Independent Multidisciplinary Science Panel, and on other independent scientific review panels in British Columbia and California.

Jim was also an award-winning author who wrote two booksSalmon without Rivers: A History of the Pacific Salmon Crisis and Salmon, People, Place: A Biologists Search for Salmon Recovery. He co-authored a new book to be published in July 2024 titled Managed Extinction: The Decline and Loss of Salmon and Steelhead in the Columbia Basin and Pacific Northwest.

Our deepest condolences goes to Jim’s family and friends. Jim inspired many of Save Our wild Salmon Coalition member groups to be a champion to restore and protect salmon and the Columbia-Snake River Basin; we thank Jim for the cherished lessons passed down to us on how to recover our region’s beloved salmon.

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 3. Big River Book Launch Tour – attend an event near you in June! 

Photography by David Moskowitz

Join SOS for a book launch tour celebrating the latest project from our partners at Braided River PublishingBig River: Resilience and Renewal in the Columbia Basin.

We’ll be co-hosting book launch events throughout June at which you’ll experience a multimedia journey along the Columbia River from source to sea, with photographer David Moskowitz, author Eileen Delehanty Pearkes, tribal speakers, and others from across the region. These events will feature author talks, panel discussions, and other activities that explore the challenges and opportunities facing the Columbia Basin and the importance of protecting the river, its fish and wildlife, and people and communities.

Efforts around restoring fish passage throughout the watershed, upholding Tribal sovereignty, renegotiating the Columbia River Treaty, developing new sustainable energy projects, and addressing climate change, agricultural sustainability, and irrigation are dynamic and ongoing. We hope that Big River's stunning imagery and diverse perspectives can help to galvanize these important conversations and advance our collective work towards more just, collaborative, and durable solutions for all.

Attend a Big River book launch event near you!

June 1 — Nelson, BC 

June 4 — Olympia, WA

June 5 — Seattle, WA

June 17 — Astoria, OR

June 18 — Portland, OR

June 19 — The Dalles, OR

June 20 — Richland, WA

June 23 Spokane, WA


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4. Join the 'All Our Relations: Tribute to the Orca' on June 12 in Seattle, WA! 

You’re invited to the All Our Relations: Tribute to the Orca on June 12 from 6:30 – 9:30pm at the Seattle Aquarium! Doors will open at 6:30pm for a simple reception and the program will begin shortly after 7:00pm. Tribute to the Orca is presented by Se’Si’Le, with support from SOS and other allied NGOs and faith-based partners. This powerful evening will feature Indigenous leaders from the Pacific Northwest and British Columbia to share their expertise and wisdom and help us re-imagine our relationship with Nature. Speakers will explore inter-weaving issues to increase awareness of their ancient kinship with the orca, the salmon, and their heritage of honoring our caretaker: Mother Nature.

The evening will include a special focus on the endangered Southern Resident orcas whose survival, like the survival of Indigenous lifeways, depends on scha’enexw (the Salmon People). We will hear from Indigenous leaders from across the region speak to the sacred obligation to past and future generations and shed light on their ancient covenant with 'all our relations' in the air, on the land, and in the waters.

Thank you to all who have reserved tickets! If you have not yet reserved your tickets, please join the waitlist for tickets. (Note: there will be no livestreaming of this event, but the program and speakers will be video-recorded and made available for viewing online afterward.)

Learn more and Join the Waitlist

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 5. Announcing SOS and NWAAE’s 2024 Poster Competition Winners!

© Kat Martin, The Last Salmon, 2024Northwest Artists Against Extinction and Save Our wild Salmon Coalition held our 2024 Poster Competition in April.  We received so many stunning artwork submissions; it was a true challenge to choose winners. We are grateful to all who entered work in this competition and who create art to inspire restoration!

We put together a look-book featuring the winning artists. We hope you’ll take a few minutes to peruse it on the NWAAE website.

In print, the winning artists are:

Salmon and Orca

Advocacy and Collective Action

Web of Life / Ecosystems

Vote for Our Planet

Emerging Artist Activist (under 18)

  • 1st: Endangered Species of the West by Taelyn Baiza
  • 2nd: The Story: Us and the World, A Celebration of Unity, Hope and Love for Mother Earth by Maria Felicity Tejada

Stay tuned as we print posters and other materials with the artwork above! Thank you to all who created work for this call and congratulations to our finalists!

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6. Columbia River Inter-Tribal Fish Commission (CRITFC) receives a federal grant to support their Tribal Energy Vision! 

Last month, Columbia River Inter-Tribal Fish Commission (CRITFC) was selected as one of the forty Energy Future Grants awarded by the US Department of Energy to support their project “Modeling for a Salmon-Friendly Energy Transition.”

At the heart of this project is CRITFC's Tribal Energy Vision, a plan that offers recommendations to federal, tribal, and state agencies; hydropower operators and public utilities; and private electricity consumers with a path to make an energy transition that helps address climate change in a way that doesn’t negatively impact salmon or the tribal cultures that rely on them. This approach not only enhances the economic and cultural sovereignty of the Yakama, Umatilla, Warm Springs, and Nez Perce tribes, but also contributes to a cleaner, more sustainable energy future for everyone. The $500,000 grant award will be used to assist in guiding the region to help develop and implement a renewable energy portfolio that allows for fish-friendly hydro operations.

CRITFC Chair Corinne Sams thanked the Biden Administration and Department of Energy, remarking “CRITFC and our member tribes have a vision of a future where the Columbia Basin electric power system supports healthy and harvestable fish and wildlife population, protects tribal treaty and cultural resources, and provides clean, reliable, and affordable electricity for the region. This grant is a step along the path to achieving that vision and we are grateful for the Biden Administration recognizing the tribal expertise and leadership on this issue.”

Congratulations to CRITFC! We’re thrilled to see sustainable energy solutions supported by the Biden Administration and the U.S. Department of Energy for a more prosperous region! Read more about CRITFC’s Tribal Energy Vision Project here.

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7. Celebrate World Fish Migration Day on May 25 with a poem from 'I Sing The Salmon Home: Poems from Washington State'! 
Salmon Columbia River © Dave McCoy, NWAAE collaborative artist

May 25th marks World Fish Migration Day (WFMD), a global event to raise awareness of our precious and often imperiled migratory fish populations and free-flowing rivers. Commemorate World Fish Migration Day by contacting your congress members to support President Biden’s investments to recover salmon and steelhead in the Columbia-Snake River Basin and its tributaries. Take action here

Join us in celebrating World Fish Migration Day with a poem from I Sing the Salmon Home: Poems from Washington State (edited by Rena Priest and published by Empty Bowl Press).

The Genius of Salmon by Julie Robinett

Salmon, how do you know how to
travel all the way from the sea,
hundreds of miles (to exactly where you began)
with no map or directions to guide you
(aside from those written in memory,
and the earth's gentle pull)?

And what is it like to possess
a sense of scent so precise that
you can detect one drop of fragrance
in water so vast it could fill ten
Olympic-sized swimming pools?

How do you know
(you just know) how to build
a watery nest for your eggs,
without one speck
of exterior guidance?
(You get by on instinct and grace.)

Generation after generation,
you have been swept into
your beautiful dance. We humans
(and the earth, with its creatures
and plants) ... yes, we are grateful!

About Julie Robinett: Decided (on a whim) in late 2011 that I would memorize one poem for each week in 2012. While doing that, I fell in love with poetry. A few years later I began attending a local open mic ("just to listen"-and was soon swept into writing (and sharing) my own poetry. In addition to poetry, I love books, chocolate, shade, spiders, walking, dancing, and many kinds of music (including and especially Zimbabwean marimba music). I have lived in the Pacific Northwest for most of my life; currently my family and I (including occasional spiders) live in Everett.

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8. Salmon media & resources round-up.

Here are a couple of recent stories and resources about the urgency and opportunity today for salmon recovery and river restoration:

News Coverage:

2024 Snake River Dinner Hour webinar recordings:

  • Thank you all for joining this year's Snake River Dinner Hour! We extend our deepest gratitude to each of our expert speakers for their leadership and wisdom on restoring a free-flowing lower Snake River. In case you missed any of the webinars, please watch the webinar recordings here

Lower Snake River myth busting factsheets:

  • Have you heard the flurry of misinformation and disinformation about the lower Snake River dams recently? SOS developed resources to debunk misinformation and myths associated with restoring the lower Snake River, removing its four dams, and replacing their services. Check out the myth busting factsheets here and please share them broadly!

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