New federal commitments and investments were announced on December 14 by the White House, the States of Oregon and Washington and four Columbia Basin Tribes - marking an important step towards a comprehensive solution to restore healthy and abundant salmon populations, and essential to honoring Tribal Treaty obligations.
The agreement provides a multi-year pause in litigation to allow for the implementation of commitments, actions, and federal investments advancing the recovery of salmon, steelhead and other Native fish populations throughout the Columbia River Basin, including more than half a billion dollars in NEW federal funding to the region and additional resources for habitat restoration and fish passage infrastructure.
The federal commitments, actions, and investments identified respond directly to The Columbia Basin Restoration Initiative (CBRI), a groundbreaking and visionary joint proposal from the “Six Sovereigns” (the states of Washington and Oregon and the Confederated Tribes and Bands of the Yakama Nation, the Confederated Tribes of the Umatilla Indian Reservation, the Confederated Tribes of the Warm Spring Reservation, and the Nez Perce Tribe).
The CBRI offers a comprehensive roadmap to rebuild imperiled native fish populations, honor Tribal treaty rights, and restore healthy ecosystems while supporting a robust Pacific Northwest economy.
The Federal investments and actions to restore the lower Snake River and replace and modernize irrigation, energy, and transportation infrastructure provide significant economic benefits to Tribes and communities throughout the Columbia and Snake River Basins, while addressing the impacts of climate change and the crisis facing salmon and orcas.
We are not at the finish line, but today’s announcement brings us much closer to a free-flowing Snake River, abundant salmon and steelhead, and a healthy ecosystem.
Save Our wild Salmon Coalition is deeply grateful for Tribal, State, Federal, and NGO partners' leadership in advancing a comprehensive solution, and securing important investments to begin to recover imperiled fish populations throughout the Columbia/Snake River Basin.
Urgent action, continued leadership, and strong support from policymakers across the Northwest is essential - to seize this historic opportunity, end the harmful status quo, and move forward a comprehensive plan and investments - benefiting the entire region and future generations.
Please join us in thanking the administration for these important steps forward, and urge your members of Congress to pledge their strong support and leadership to ensure we implement the actions necessary to recover Northwest salmon.
- The White House: Biden-Harris Administration Announces Ten-Year Partnership with Tribes & States to Restore Wild Salmon, Expand Clean Energy Production, Increase Resilience, and Provide Energy Stability in the Columbia River Basin
- Washington Governor Jay Inslee: Six Sovereigns and Biden Administration partner in historic fashion to find solutions that benefit salmon and the Pacific Northwest
- Oregon Governor Tina Kotek: Biden Administration Announces Historic Commitments with Six Sovereigns
- Washington Senator Patty Murray: Murray Statement on Columbia-Snake River System Agreement Between Federal Government and Six Sovereigns
- Rep. Adam Smith: Statement on Columbia River Basin Agreement
- Rep. Pramila Jayapal: Statement on the Columbia-Snake River System Agreement
- Earthjustice: U.S. Government Sets a Path to Breach the Four Lower Snake River Dams
- Save Our wild Salmon: Biden administration commits significant federal resources to rebuild Columbia Basin salmon, honor obligations to Tribes, and prepare for lower Snake River dam breaching
- American Rivers: Biden Administration Announcement Marks Historic Step In Salmon Recovery In The Columbia River Basin
- Columbia Riverkeeper: Important step toward removing the Lower Snake River dams, replacing their services, restoring abundant salmon, and honoring America’s promises to Tribes
- Idaho Conservation League: U.S. Government commits to restore salmon in Northwest and honor obligations to Tribes, sets path to breach four lower Snake River dams
- Idaho Rivers United: U.S. Government Sets a Path to Breach the four Lower Snake River dams, while honoring Tribes, and restoring salmon to the Northwest
- Idaho Wildlife Federation: New Course Set For Snake River Basin
- National Wildlife Federation: U.S. Government Sets New Course on Lower Snake River, Toward ‘Right Side of History’
- Sierra Club: White House Plan for Snake River a Victory for Tribes, Communities, and Wildlife
- Trout Unlimited: Biden Administration Agreement: Step Toward Comprehensive Solution for Columbia Basin Salmon and Energy Infrastructure
- Washington Conservation Action and Oregon League of Conservation Voters: Biden Admin Sets a Clear Path to Breach Four Lower Snake River dams
- Columbia Basin Restoration Initiative (PDF)
- Snake River Litigation Memorandum of Understanding (PDF)
- Litigation Stay (PDF)
- Federal commitments (PDF)
Factsheets and Resources:
- Biden-Harris Administration Factsheet: Biden-Harris Administration Announces 10-Year Partnership with Tribes and States to Restore Wild Salmon, Expand Clean Energy Production, Increase Resilience, and Provide Energy Stability in the Columbia River Basin
- Earthjustice Factsheet: New federal commitments to fight salmon extinction in the Columbia River Basin
- Earthjustice Explainer: The Government Just Took a Big Step Toward Breaching Salmon-Killing Dams
- Earthjustice: A Long Fight to Restore Snake River Salmon: Timeline of selected events, court rulings, and more recent development
- NRDC Blog: Six Sovereigns Achieve Pathway to Snake River Dam Retirement
- AP News: Conservationists, tribes say deal with Biden administration is a road map to breach Snake River dams
- E&E News: White House pledges $1B to restore Pacific Northwest salmon, steelhead
- NPR: Tribes celebrate historic deal with White House that could save Pacific Northwest salmon
- Tri-City Herald: ‘Historic’ Columbia River agreement called ‘roadmap’ to breaching Snake River dams
- Seattle Times: Biden administration promises $1 billion more for salmon, clean energy — but punts on Lower Snake River dam removal in major agreement
- Lewiston Tribune: It’s official: Dam agreement announced
- Spokesman-Review: Biden administration puts off dam breach talks, partners with tribes to restore salmon habitats
- The Hill: White House orders studies of Snake River dam removal to restore salmon populations
- Oregon Capital Chronicle: NW states, tribes reach ‘historic’ deal with feds over Columbia River Basin fish and dams
- Capital Press: Biden administration, tribes: Dam breaching on table 'as soon as practical’
- Spokane Public Radio: Federal-state-tribal agreement aims to help salmon, leaves future of Snake River dams open
- Outdoor Life: Biden Takes Steps Toward Breaching Four Snake River Dams
- Sierra Club Magazine: Biden Administration Supports Removal of Four Dams on the Snake River
- High Country News: Lower Snake River dams closer to coming down with new agreement
- Northwest Public Broadcasting: "Historic agreement seen as a harbinger to Snake River dam removal"
- Everett Herald - Comment: "Agreement restores hope for salmon of Snake River" By Brian Brooks, executive director of Idaho Wildlife Federation
- The Oregonian: Efforts of tribes pay off in historic agreement on Snake River dam removals
- The Spokesman-Review Op-Ed: Dan McDonald: Significant progress in the race against extinction
- Yakima Herald-Republic Guest Commentary: Columbia-Snake agreement charts the course to a clean-energy future by Nancy Hirsh, NW Energy Coalition