The Pacific Northwest is one step closer to a huge conservation and river restoration proposal. On February 6, 2021, Idaho Congressman Mike Simpson released a plan to address threats facing the Lower Snake River. The goal of this $34 billion dollar plan is to stop the loss of endangered salmon and steelhead fish and create a more sustainable energy solution while benefitting the economy.
Listen to Mike Simpson of Idaho
This video, “What if?: Simpson on Salmon Recovery,” gives an overview of this multifaceted solution to bring fish populations back to reasonable numbers.
The Plan (Source American Rivers)
- Restore the Lower Snake River in southeast Washington by removing four federal dams
- Water quality improvements in the Columbia Basin, Puget Sound, and Washington and Oregon coasts
- Restoration of salmon in currently blocked areas in the upper Columbia and upper Snake rivers
- Funding for the Yakima Basin Integrated Plan
- Incentives to remove select fish-blocking dams in the Columbia Basin
- Increasing tourism and recreation opportunities
Rivers Connect Us
The Columbia River and its tributaries span multiple Pacific Northwest states. Rivers & Oceans runs many of these rivers, such as the Selway River, the Middle Fork of the Salmon River, and Main Salmon River. As a company we care deeply about rivers and want to provide river conservation information and news to help us continue to protect wild rivers. This long overdue proposal needs support to gain the momentum needed to remove the four Lower Snake River dams.
Salmon and Stealhead are a keystone species. They provide nutrients (from mainly nitrogen in their carcasses) to over 140 other species in the ecosystem. From ponderosa pines, to black bears, to orca whales, these fish are literally the lifeline of many river systems.
The Lower Snake River dams create a major hurdle facing these fish. With climate change causing rising temperatures in the stagnant water behind these dams, the fish have a minimal chance of completing their life’s mission. They must swim out to the Pacific Ocean from their spawning habitat, adapt their entire biological system to saltwater, and then migrate home upstream, using their sense of smell, and homing senses to build redds, lay their eggs and reproduce.
Over $17 billion of taxpayer dollars has gone to salmon and steelhead recovery in the Pacific Northwest. Science shows that current practices are not enough to ensure the survival of these fish. Not only are they critical to the environment, they also provide a livelihood and food for millions of people. These fisheries are also significant to numerous Native American tribes in the area, who have relied upon the fish for thousands of years.
How to Take Action
We encourage you to follow this issue and stay informed. You can also support local organizations who are working in support of this proposal and doing their own work to promote healthy rivers. For example, by joining as a member of Idaho Rivers United, your annual contribution helps support these issues and protect our incredible rivers.
You can also write an email in support of this proposal here. Even better is to call your federal representative and/or senators. While it may not seem like it they do listen and value our input as voters.
In terms of environmental conservation, wins start at a grassroots level. Your voice does matter, so use it to stand up for the wild places that you love and want to keep for generations to come. We have an incredible opportunity to create a movement behind this dam removal that would ultimately restore salmon and steelhead populations. Join us in support of this important issue!