February 7, 2021
Save Our wild Salmon Coalition Statement re: Congressman Simpson’s groundbreaking proposal for restoring Northwest salmon populations and investing in communities and infrastructure.
The Save Our wild Salmon Coalition (SOS) welcomes Rep. Mike Simpson’s (R-ID) ambitious proposal to protect and restore abundant and harvestable populations of salmon and steelhead in a manner that also, importantly, supports our region’s farming and waterfront communities, expands our clean energy economy, and honors our nation’s responsibilities to Tribal Nations in the Northwest.
We appreciate the hard and thoughtful work by Congressman Simpson and his staff to develop this initiative. It opens an urgently needed discussion and opportunity to comprehensively address a set of linked challenges facing our region’s communities, economies and natural resources. We urge other members of Congress to carefully consider this proposal and to work with the region’s policymakers, sovereigns and stakeholders to help refine and advance it. At SOS, we look forward to collaborating with Northwest people and policymakers to help seize this important opportunity.
Salmon and steelhead populations are critical to Northwest cultures, economies and ecosystems. They support Tribal and non-tribal communities and businesses on the coast and inland. Salmon are essential to the survival of endangered Southern Resident orcas and their presence benefits more than a hundred other fish and wildlife species in the Northwest. Salmon, however, are in steep decline and many populations face extinction.
One of our nation’s greatest fish and wildlife restoration opportunities today can be found in the Snake River Basin in central Idaho, northeast Oregon and southeast Washington State. The science is clear: removing the four lower Snake River dams is critical for protecting its endangered salmon and steelhead from extinction and represents our best opportunity for restoring abundant, harvestable populations in the Columbia Basin.
Importantly, Congressman Siimpson’s proposal is about much more than salmon recovery. It also includes significant investments in Northwest infrastructure and jobs related to agriculture, transportation and energy, and for the waterfront communities of Lewiston (ID) and Clarkston (WA).
This proposal also recognizes the pressing need to address historic injustices against Native American Tribes. It would take important steps to restore access to harvestable salmon and to uphold our nation’s Tribal responsibilities.
SOS was formed in 1991 in response to the nation’s first listing for salmon under the Endangered Species Act: Snake River sockeye. The SOS coalition consists of more than 40 regional and national conservation organizations, recreational and commercial fishing associations, and clean energy and orca advocates working to protect and restore abundant, self-sustaining and harvestable populations of salmon and steelhead in the rivers and coastal waters of the Pacific Northwest.