Campaign to Restore Snake River salmon
Seizing an opportunity to restore the lower Snake River and recover endangered salmon and steelhead.
In the face of looming extinctions, decades of litigation, escalating costs and calls for justice, Washington State’s U.S. Senator Patty Murray and Governor Jay Inslee and Biden Administration officials in Washington D.C. committed last fall to work urgently with Northwest people to develop and deliver a comprehensive solution to protect and recover Snake River salmon and invest in the region's communities – by July 31, 2022. Just a few months from now.
This emerging leadership has opened a critical window of opportunity in 2022 for the lands and waters, fish and wildlife and people and communities of the Pacific Northwest. Residents of the region and nation have a critical role to play to support this leadership and the development of a comprehensive solution that includes restoring the lower Snake River. Northwest Artists Against Extinction represents a creative partnership between artists and advocates to help seize this once-in-a-generation opportunity.
Wild salmon are important
Wild salmon are among our region’s original residents. Their historic abundance is difficult to imagine today – tens of millions of adult salmon returning annually from the ocean to their natal rivers and streams - feeding other fish and wildlife, building our legendary forests, delivering ocean-sourced nutrients across millennia to the waters and lands of the Pacific Northwest. Tribal nations living here since time immemorial share a deep and reciprocal relationship with salmon.
Unfortunately, salmon and the benefits they bring to Northwest people and ecosystems are at risk of disappearing today. Dozens of populations have already been lost. Many of those that remain swim on the edge of extinction.
It’s time to restore the Snake River
The Snake River has been at the center of controversy for many years. Tribal people, conservationists, fishermen, orca advocates and many others have long called for the removal of its four costly and deadly dams built in southeast Washington in the ‘60s and ‘70s. Wild Snake River coho disappeared in the 1980s. Its four remaining fish populations were listed under the Endangered Species Act in the 1990s.
After thirty years, six illegal federal plans and many billions of dollars, Snake River salmon remain gravely imperiled. Last year, just four sockeye salmon swam into their ancestral spawning gravels in the Stanley Basin in central Idaho. Chinook and steelhead returns in the Snake River Basin are just 1-2 percent historic levels.
Urgency and opportunity
After decades of advocacy, the Nez Perce and other tribes, and conservation and fishing advocates have opened a critical window of opportunity. SOS has been a leader in the campaign to restore this river and its salmon since the 1990s. We work closely with many other partners and allies.
In order to seize this unprecedented protection/restoration opportunity and to demonstrate and expand the public and political support that will be necessary to secure in 2022 a comprehensive regional solution that includes a restored lower Snake River, SOS is helping educate and engage people, elevate issue and campaign visibility, and inspire and mobilize our supporters, key constituencies and the public.
Working together we can demonstrate overwhelming public support to elected leaders and key decisionmakers in the Northwest and Washington D.C. — to ensure they follow through on their commitments to protect Snake River salmon from extinction and invest in communities and critical infrastructure in a manner that brings everyone forward together.
Thank you for your interest in Northwest Artists Against Extinction – and our collective efforts and opportunity to restore a healthy, resilient lower Snake River, recover its endangered fish, and rebuild the many benefits they bring to our region and nation.
Further information on Snake River salmon and the window of opportunity before us in 2022 can be found on the Snake River Policy Information page.