Salmon are anadromous. They live mostly in the ocean, but return to distant, fresh mountain headwaters to spawn. This term that describes their biological ties to seemingly disparate environments (ocean and mountain) might just as easily describe the ways in which salmon bring together competing cultures and histories. Their power, their story, have earned salmon a broad cross-section of advocates. The sustained, collective will of these unlikely allies is needed now, as federal courts near a decision that will determine the fate of Snake River salmon, and potentially set a new example for the management of fisheries resources. Some talented salmon advocates join us today with their words, images and video. Here's Emily Nuchols, from UnderSolen Media to get things started:
Snake River salmon swim farther and climb higher than any other salmon on earth. And because they return to the biggest, highest and best-protected habitat in America, endangered Snake River salmon are slated as the West’s best chance to save salmon for future generations in an environment threatened by climate change. These cold, crisp waters, spanning three Western states — Washington, Oregon and Idaho – will remain cold under warming climates, protecting these one-of-a-kind salmon with a one-of-a-kind habitat. On May 1, PBS' Nature will premier Salmon: Running the Gauntlet, a program about the ongoing debate on how to save this endangered species.
And on May 9th, a federal court is poised to make a decision that could change the fate of endangered species across the entire country. U.S. District Court Judge James Redden will decide if the Obama administration’s federal salmon plan will pass legal muster — a decision that will do one of two things for endangered wildlife: protect the Endangered Species Act (ESA), or weaken it. Making the wrong decision on these rivers would effectively damn these salmon to extinction.
[The high country that Snake River Salmon call home. Redfish and Little Redfish Lakes, "so named for the brilliant sockeye salmon that once returned from the Pacific Ocean in such massive quantities that the lake shimmered red during spawning season," sit at the base of Idaho's Sawtooth Mountains. All photos ©Neil Ever Osborne, iLCP]