Southern Resident orcas and Pacific salmon need your help. If these two icons of the Pacific Northwest are to avoid extinction, they urgently need real solutions, and we need your leadership to develop those solutions.
I am writing to urge you to work with your colleagues in Congress to build a regional coalition and develop an inclusive plan for restoration of the Columbia River watershed, including: removing the Lower Snake River dams, honoring our commitments to Native Tribes, developing smart investments in the needs of communities of the PNW, and restoring healthy ecosystems for salmon and Southern Resident orcas.
The Southern Resident orcas are a unique group of orcas, unlike any others in the world, and beloved by people everywhere. They are specially adapted to the ecosystem of the Pacific Northwest, especially its once abundant runs of salmon. As salmon have declined, the orcas have suffered, and they are now living on the brink of extinction.
With your past leadership, great advancements have been made in protecting and restoring habitat, recovering salmon, and developing collaborative conservation efforts. We can save salmon and orcas while supporting communities across the Pacific Northwest. To continue this work, bold solutions are needed now more than ever to address the salmon and orca crisis in the Columbia Basin.
The recent Environmental Impact Statement (EIS) for the Columbia River Systems Operations (CRSO), which includes the lower Snake River dams, was an opportunity for federal agencies to take a fresh approach to managing the CRSO. Unfortunately, the agencies’ preferred alternative essentially maintains the status quo and will not recover salmon or help the Southern Residents recover. We need your leadership to develop a new path forward.
This plan is not enough, and the science is clear – the four Lower Snake River dams threaten the survival of salmon and Southern Resident orcas. People around the world know and love the Southern Resident orca community, and are asking for action to help this special group of orcas survive and thrive. Please step up to be a champion for Southern Resident orcas and salmon, and lead in the development of a comprehensive, collaborative solution that supports the future of local communities and the health of this shared ecosystem.