dams

It's Time to Restore the Lower Snake River

Salmon and Steelhead are Counting on Us

The Association of Northwest Steelheaders is dedicated to removing the Lower Granite, Little Goose, Lower Monumental, and Ice Harbor dams on the lower Snake River, which have been decimating endangered fish populations since they were built between 1955-1975. Removing the dams is essential to achieving five main goals:

People have been talking about removing these dams for decades. With over 50 years’ worth of science documenting their negative impacts on endangered fish populations, it is clear that removing these dams would dramatically improve populations and protect them from looming extinction.

The 2020 Draft Environmental Impact Statement that federal agencies prepared to save Columbia and Snake River salmon and steelhead from extinction acknowledged that removing the dams on the lower Snake River would have the greatest increase in endangered fish populations returning to the Snake River Basin each year. And yet, they didn’t recommend breaching these dams as their preferred alternative. Instead, they favored alternatives that only slightly modify existing management strategies – efforts that have not improved salmon or steelhead populations at all over the past 50 years.

Despite spending more than $17 billion in tax dollars to attempt to recover these critical populations over the past 25 years, 2019 salmon returns dropped to historic lows – a clear sign that this trend will continue if we move forward with status quo management.

The Issue at a Glance

The Status Quo Won’t Work

Salmon and steelhead on the Snake River cannot withstand another 25 years of status quo management. Unless we change course now, Snake River salmon and steelhead, as well as southern resident orca whales may be extinct in our lifetimes. This isn't an environmental issue or a business issue, this is an issue that affects all of us as Northwesterners. As a region, we need smarter solutions based on real, relevant, and reliable science.

We need to come together and rethink how we manage the lower Snake River system. We must imagine solutions that benefit salmon, communities, and industries. Farmers, sport-fishers, business owners, and families across Oregon, Washington, and Idaho need to see themselves in this future. It is time to stand together and create a comprehensive and collaborative, community-driven solution that balances our need for healthy rivers with our need for clean energy—a solution that supports prosperous farming and fishing communities, affordable clean power, and abundant salmon and steelhead.

 

Take Action
to Restore a Free-Flowing Snake River

Email Your Electeds

Tell them we need a new, regional approach to recover our salmon and sportfishing.

Express Your Support

Sign our petition expressing your support for the campaign

Stay Involved

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Interested in learning more about how restoring a free-flowing lower Snake River will improve sportfishing opportunities on the lower Columbia?

Check out our webinar from September 2020 to learn more about why lower Columbia anglers need to push for Snake River restoration if we want to recover meaningful fishing seasons and salmon runs.
 

What folks are saying about Snake River salmon and steelhead

Breaching the Lower Snake River dams “is the most certain and robust solution to SR salmon and steelhead recovery. No other action has the potential to improve overall survival two to three-fold and simultaneously address both the orca and salmon recovery dilemma”

Oregon Governor Kate Brown, February 2020

“We need to stop thinking about what currently exists and ask ourselves, ‘What do we want the Northwest to look like in 10, 20, 30, 40, 50 years?”

Idaho Congressman Mike Simpson

“Historically, the Columbia River Basin was the largest salmon producing river system in the world…we are now struggling at about one percent of their historical potential. That is inexcusable for a system that is so iconic, for a species that is so iconic, for a system that is so magnificent.”

Ed Bowles, Fish Division Administrator, Oregon Department of Fish and Wildlife in “The Greatest Migration”

“Communities must have the opportunity to collaboratively develop a transition plan to ensure the region’s needs will continue to be met. We can work together to ensure federal and state investments would replace the dams’ benefits and help impacted communities. We must insist that the people who depend on the lower Snake River have a say in its future. We must insist on a path forward that works for salmon and people.”

Wendy McDermott, Director of the Puget Sound-Columbia Basin for American Rivers