Joseph Bogaard, executive director, Save Our wild Salmon
Salmon and fishing advocates appreciate the work by federal agencies reflected in the Draft Environmental Impact Statement released today. We have not had an opportunity to review it closely yet, but we’re hopeful it contains some valuable information that can help inform regional discussions and support the development of legally valid, scientifically credible and fiscally responsible solutions that will sustain and restore our region’s natural resources and support vibrant fishing and farming communities across the Pacific Northwest.
Salmon and fishing advocates, however, do not see this document or a federal agency-led process as capable of delivering the durable, long-term solution that the people of the Northwest and nation require. Developing an effective plan that truly meets the needs of people, salmon and ecosystems will require the urgent, active and creative engagement of Northwest-based stakeholders, sovereigns, policymakers and citizens.
Only by working together will we be able to develop a plan for Columbia-Snake River Basin salmon and steelhead that meets the needs of our communities, economies and cultures. An effective solution for the Northwest must:
• Protect and restore self-sustaining, fishable populations of salmon and steelhead in the Snake and Columbia rivers;
• Invest in and support vibrant fishing and farming communities across the Pacific Northwest;
• Ensure healthy tribal communities and cultures and uphold our nation’s responsibilities to Tribal Nations; AND
• Support a reliable, affordable and increasingly decarbonized regional energy system.
In 1998, the Save Our wild Salmon Coalition prioritized restoring the lower Snake River by removing its four federal dams as the best and likely only way to protect its endangered salmon and steelhead from extinction and to rebuild its struggling populations to abundant and harvestable levels. Our decision was informed first and foremost by the scientific research and information available at that time. The body of research in this area that has emerged since then – and our experience in the real world with steeply declining native fish populations in the Columbia and Snake River system – only reinforces and strengthens the scientific case in support of restoring a freely flowing lower Snake River. The intensifying impacts of a changing climate increase the urgency to act.
At Save Our wild Salmon, we look forward to working urgently with others in our region to develop a comprehensive solution that meets the needs of endangered salmon and steelhead, fishing and farming communities, and a clean and affordable energy system for the benefit of current and future generations.