Since you last took action to protect the salmon and orcas that are harmed by the Snake River dams, we have continued to press our elected leaders to develop comprehensive legislation to restore the lower Snake River and remove four dams there. Your actions have helped us focus the attention of Senators Murray and Cantwell on this issue. Now, with them feeling the heat, we need to push hard to let them know that Washingtonians on both sides of the Cascades want their leadership to save our salmon and orcas.
Closer to home, there have been some hopeful developments. The Southern Resident orcas — which call Puget Sound home for part of the year — welcomed two new calves in September, and scientists report that other whales may be pregnant as well. And the four Northwest governors just announced a collaborative effort to recover salmon abundance in the Snake and Columbia rivers.
The orcas, it seems, are doing all they can to rebuild their community. State leaders are beginning to do the work as well. We need to make sure we do our part to build a sense of urgency and momentum that will propel a comprehensive solution, one that addresses community needs, assures a clean energy future for our region, honors our commitments to Tribes, and restores the lower Snake River and its iconic salmon runs.
There’s no way around this — we need bold action, and we need it quickly. For years, biologists have told us that restoring the lower Snake River by removing its four dams is critical for protecting salmon from extinction — potentially returning more than 1 million adult Chinook salmon to Northwest coastal waters to feed hungry orcas and help struggling fishing communities. This is the greatest river restoration opportunity anywhere. But business as usual just won’t get the job done.
Help us bring the growing momentum to the other Washington. Please join us in urging Senators Murray and Cantwell to help develop and pass legislation that will provide a comprehensive regional solution for our salmon, orcas, and communities.