Save Our wild Salmon
by Pat Ford
2012 marks the Save Our wild Salmon Coalition’s 20th birthday – and the 14th year we have worked with Patagonia. Apart from commercial and sport fishing industry associations within SOS itself, Patagonia is the longest-running business partner in our work. Our work is to help Columbia-Snake wild salmon restore themselves – the fish will do the restoring, if we provide some basic conditions and get out of their way – by, for example, restoring a working Snake River in eastern Washington by removing its four outdated dams.
With help from Patagonia and other allies, we have forced the federal government to honor its obligations to wild fish and as a result tens of thousands more salmon and steelhead are now alive. This has bought time against extinction for these most imperiled wild fish. And we have built a lot of support for the largest river restoration ever done on earth, 140 miles of the lower Snake River. The American Fisheries Society’s western division calls this the surest way to restore the Snake’s salmon and steelhead.
[Above: Sockeye Salmon in Little Redfish Lake Creek. Oncorhynchus nerka.
Sawtooth National Recreation Area (SNRA), Idaho, USA. Photo: Neil Ever Osborne, ILCP]
[Redfish Lake and Little Redfish Lake. Sawtooth National Recreation Area, Idaho, USA. Photo: Neil Ever Osborne, ILCP]
When SOS began this campaign, we knew it would be a long haul with a high degree of difficulty. We’re not there yet, but we are nearing the top of the hill. For example, the owner of a big Spokane construction company recently talked to one of Washington’s U.S. Senators. When he told her it was time for the lower Snake dams to go, she did a double take – “You support that?” That kind of support, and the impact it has, tells me we're nearing the top. Last August, after a federal judge ruled the Columbia-Snake salmon plan illegal yet again, 1,200 businesses asked President Obama in a letter to bring all stakeholders together for direct talks to break the long gridlock. Patagonia and that construction leader were two of its signers.
The letter demonstrates the broad and deep support given to us by businesses of many kinds. This is an example of what Yvon Chouinard calls the power of a single step. We have more steps to take. That we will succeed rests on the ever-widening size of the “we.”
Pat Ford is executive director of the Save Our wild Salmon Coalition.
Action Alert: It's time for stakeholder negotiations in Columbia-Snake Basin
Recently, via a video interview with Earthfix news, U.S. Judge James Redden endorsed lower Snake River dam removal to save wild salmon. Judge Redden, who resigned from the long-running salmon case last November after more than a decade, is intimately familiar with both the law and the science around Snake River salmon restoration.; His remarks are his strongest statement on federal salmon policy to date.
In addition to supporting lower Snake River dam removal and spilling more water to help salmon, Judge Redden also alluded, as many others have, to the ongoing scenario of politics trumping science in the Columbia-Snake Basin. “The politics of it makes it difficult for some of the scientists,” he said.
Please help change the political dynamic for salmon!
Take action today with Save Our wild Salmon
[Wild Chinook salmon moving upstream in Marsh Creek. Oncorhynchus tshawytscha. Sawtooth National Recreation Area (SNRA), Idaho, USA. Photo: Neil Ever Osborne, ILCP]