Save Our Wild Salmon Coalition Programs
Fighting for wild salmon & steelhead:
SOS is fighting to ensure that salmon & steelhead get what they need to survive and thrive. Our success in court is forcing the government to strengthen its illegal salmon strategy. Unfortunately, the government failed again in 2011 to produce a legal salmon plan for Columbia Basin – and the communities and businesses that rely on them. A “new” plan is due in Dec. 2013.
Building leadership for collaborative solutions:
SOS advocated effectively for a new approach to salmon restoration. After years of failure and wasteful spending, it’s time to bring stakeholders together – farmers, fishermen, shippers, energy interests - to work on shared solutions. Support for a new approach is taking hold within the Obama Administration and the Northwest. In Dec. 2012, NOAA-Fisheries announced a new initiative we hope will become the “stakeholder table” where these connected problems – salmon, energy and transportation – can be addressed.
Salmon solutions to climate impacts:
Salmon are a beacon to help lead us through climate change. What these adaptive masters need most to survive a changing climate is connectivity – linked and scaled chains of habitats. Connectivities – ecological, social, institutional – are also what people need to stabilize climate change and weather it. Salmon can guide us if we let them survive to do so.
Our program seeks to stem climate change, and help salmon, waters and people weather its effects. We must meet these challenges in tandem; with recognition that climate change dissolves boundaries between issues, laws, and people. Our program tackles immediate challenges, and sets foundations for the work of years that climate change in the Columbia-Snake Rivers will demand.
Recent Successes and Current Challenges
Spill is one of SOS’ tremendous success stories. “Spill” refers to the practice of sending water over key Columbia-Snake River dams in order to speed young salmon and steelhead more safely on their way to the Pacific Ocean. It keeps these fish out of spinning turbines and barges and trucks, and keeps them in the river where they belong.
At the request of salmon and fishing plaintiffs (including SOS member groups, Nez Perce Tribe, and the State of Oregon) and against the wishes of federal agencies, spill has been ordered by the court during each spring-summer salmon migration since 2006 as 'injunctive relief' – in order to provide more protection for salmon in the near-term while an updated, presumably legal plan is under way.
Securing more spill for salmon in the near-term lies at the heart of a key objective for our campaign and salmon restoration: a regional stakeholder collaboration.
The government's failure to craft an effective, lawful long-term plan has wasted time and resources, and meant persistent uncertainty for both salmon and people.
If we are serious about restoring healthy, fishable wild salmon and steelhead populations, we must find a new path forward. Instead of continuous litigation, it's time for the parties who depend on the river and its natural resources to come together to craft a workable plan that restores salmon, creates jobs and invests in our communities.
The Obama Administration and a growing number of Northwest elected leaders in the Pacific salmon states support convening an inclusive stakeholder group to seek solutions that benefit all parties. This stakeholder process should assess regional needs and use transparent and sound science to craft effective solutions that benefit communities and restore salmon to our rivers.