Last week, the Western Division of the American Fisheries Society – the nation’s oldest, largest, and well-respected association of fisheries biologists – overwhelmingly (84% approval) passed a resolution affirming the importance of removing the four lower Snake River dams if we have any hope of protecting and restoring endangered wild salmon and steelhead. Read the full resolution here.
The WDAFS has passed similar resolutions on several other occasions over the twelve years, though this is perhaps broadest in scope. This new resolution includes imperiled white sturgeon and critically imperiled lamprey – a highly prized cultural (e.g. food and medicine) resource by Columbia Basin Tribes. Lamprey returns last year over Lower Granite Dam were in the double digits. Not long ago, they returned to the Columbia Basin, like salmon and steelhead, in the millions.
The timing of the passage of the resolution was no accident. The scientists wanted an opportunity for the their voice to be heard before federal Judge James Redden rules on the adequacy of the Obama Administration’s Plan for Columbia Basin salmon and steelhead. The Western Division has recently published assessments of the 2008 Bush Plan (which they panned) and Obama’s Administration’s supplement to the Bush Plan (which they also planned). Read their review of Obama supplemental plan here.
The resolution from WDAFS is another example of the need for Congress to step in and seek solutions guided by science and economics. The scientific and economic studies authorized by H.R. 2111 offer a great step forward. Introduced on June 3rd by Congressman Jim McDermott (D-WA) and Congressman Tom Petri (R-WI), the Salmon Solutions and Planning Act of 2011 (SSPA) is a bipartisan bill that would provide both Congress and federal agencies with up-to-date, thorough information about how best to protect and restore wild salmon and steelhead in the Pacific Northwest’s Columbia and Snake River Basin.
H.R. 2111 offers a way forward to recover these salmon in a manner that will create living-wage jobs, revitalize regional economies, and invest in a clean energy future. More on the legislation here.
Thank you for taking action! Please feel free to contact me with any questions or about more ways to get involved.