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Washington Conservation Action, Oregon League of Conservation Voters, and Conservation Voters for Idaho respond to US government committing considerable federal resources to support the restoration of native fish populations and prepare for dam breaching

Today, December 14, the Biden Administration and the Six Sovereigns (the Nez Perce, Warm Springs, Umatilla, and Yakama Tribes, and the states of Oregon and Washington) announced a package of actions and commitments to recover Columbia and Snake River salmon as part of an agreement in ongoing litigation.

“I hold dear the generations of Native Nations that have fought for their cultures, for their treaties and for abundant salmon runs. We applaud the leadership of President Biden and his administration for announcing an historic path forward for salmon and steelhead recovery in Nch’i-Wana, or the “Big River,” known in English as the Columbia/Snake River basins,” said Alyssa Macy, CEO of Washington Conservation Action and citizen of the Confederated Tribes of Warm Springs, Oregon. “This decision fosters a resilient Pacific Northwest in the face of climate change. It supports communities that center salmon in their culture and their economy. It is a step toward saving orcas that depend upon salmon. It upholds the federal trust and treaty obligations made by the federal government. There is no time to waste. We are ready, eager and committed to fulfill this agreement – for the people of Eastern Washington, for salmon, for Tribal Nations, and for the preservation of our lifeways for generations to come.”

This package is an important step forward in the decades-long effort to recover and rebuild Columbia and Snake River salmon populations. It wouldn’t be possible without you, and the other hundreds of thousands of Northwest residents who have worked over the years to restore salmon to abundance.

This historic package creates a clear path forward for salmon and steelhead recovery in the Columbia and Snake River basins. It will help build a more resilient Northwest in the face of climate change and uphold the treaty and trust obligations made by the federal government with the four Columbia River Treaty Tribes.

“This agreement is a turning point, and it comes just in time. OLCV is thrilled to see this path forward to rebuild and restore salmon, center Tribal input, and ensure clean and affordable energy for our communities,” said Lindsey Scholten, OLCV Executive Director. “We are grateful to all the Tribal, community, and elected leaders who helped make this pivotal moment happen.  Now, we need federal agencies and members of Congress to urgently follow through on the policies and actions identified in this agreement.”

Contact your elected officials today and tell them they must pledge their support for the Biden Administration’s plan to recover salmon and hold federal agencies accountable to urgently implement these critical actions.

Up until this point, the Biden-Harris administration has established abundant salmon in the Pacific Northwest as a federal priority with these actions: 

  • A $200 million commitment to reintroduce salmon in the Upper Columbia River Basin.
  • A Presidential Memorandum that directs federal agencies to act to restore salmon populations, and to uphold treaty and trust responsibilities.   

These steps will augment the Northwest salmon restoration funding provided by the federal Infrastructure Bill and Inflation Reduction Act.

“Breaching the four lower Snake River dams is the only way to save salmon and we are thankful that decision makers are listening to tribal leaders from the Nez Perce, Yakama, Warm Springs, and Umatilla tribes. Restoring salmon is not just critical in fulfilling the commitments of the past but is an investment in our economic future,” said Rialin Flores, Executive Director of Conservation Voters for Idaho. “Throughout the west, the decline of salmon has cost nearly a billion dollars a year in economic losses and destroyed more than 25,000 family wage jobs. These federal commitments are built on bi-partisan efforts, including an earlier initiative proposed by Rep. Mike Simpson (Idaho) and Idahoans. We look forward to seeing members of Congress and federal agencies follow through on the critical next steps and commitments outlined in this agreement.”

In the Northwest, our future must include abundant salmon, clean and affordable energy, reliable transportation and irrigation. And we must uphold promises to Northwest Tribes. But this future depends upon the right actions and commitments now. That’s why we need federal agencies and members of Congress to follow through on the policies and actions outlined in this agreement. 

Email your federal leaders today. Make sure that they do what’s necessary to restore thriving salmon watersheds, to support our communities, and to honor treaty responsibilities.


For more information, read more from Earthjustice who is representing fishing, conservation, and renewable energy groups

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