The Pacific Northwest is officially one step closer to the beginning of potentially a huge conservation and river restoration proposal. On February 6, 2021, Idaho Congressman Mike Simpson released a plan to address the long overdue issue of threats facing the Lower Snake River. The goal of this $34 billion dollar plan is to stop the destruction of salmon and steelhead fish that are already endangered or threatened, as well as creating a more sustainable energy solution, all while benefitting economics.
Watch & Get Informed
This video, “What if?: Simpson on Salmon Recovery,” gives an informative overview of this multifaceted solution to bring fish populations back to reasonable numbers.
The Plan (Source American Rivers)
- Restoring the Lower Snake River in southeast Washington through the removal of 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 drainage system is massive, as its tributaries span across multiple states of the Pacific Northwest. 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 who cares deeply about the places we run trips, it’s important to us to be a resource of helpful planning information as well as keep our clients informed about river conservation and news. We applaud this long overdue proposal and hope it continues to gain the momentum needed to remove the four Lower Snake River dams.
The Lower Snake River dams make up for a majority of the problems facing these fish, which are a keystone species. This means 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. With climate change and rising temperatures due to stagnant water stuck behind these dams into the reservoirs, they have decreased chances of completing their life’s mission: swimming out to the Pacific Ocean from their natal spawning habitat, adapting their entire biological system to saltwater, and then migrating 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, and science is proving that what is happening is not enough to ensure that these fish do not become extinct. Not only are they critical to the environment, they also provide a livelihood and food for millions of people. They are also incredibly significant to numerous Native American tribes in the area, who have inhabited these ancestral lands and river corridors 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.
In terms of environmental conservation, so many wins truly 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!