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Don’t Let Orcas Be Dammed!

Southern Resident orcas need salmon snacks!

A love of snacks -  the one thing that all people and living things can agree on!

Orcas are no exception! They love snacking on Chinook salmon so much that these salmon actually make up most of their diet. Unfortunately, dams on the Snake River harm salmon, meaning fewer salmon snacks for hungry orcas.

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The Bad News:

The people (federal agencies) made the wrong decision. They ignored science and underestimated the connection to Southern Resident orcas.

Despite tens of thousands of people calling for bold, comprehensive action to recover Pacific Northwest salmon and breach the four Lower Snake River dams, the agencies chose to stick with the status quo, an approach that has never worked in the past.

The Good News:

We are trying something new. Since these agencies refuse to act, we are asking our Congressional leaders to step up.

We are calling for them to develop a comprehensive solution to restore a healthy Snake River which will benefit everyone - more salmon, more orca snacks, and stronger economies for the communities across the Pacific Northwest.

If we have learned anything in 2020, it is that we have to speak up for what we believe in. Southern Residents need salmon snacks to survive and thrive. This issue starts with people, which means we can be the ones to solve it.  Your voices matter!

If you *don't* live in OR or WA, show your support for orcas by signing below!

Thank you for speaking up for Southern Resident orcas!  We want to show widespread support for this unique and beloved population of whales.  People across the US and around the world love the Southern Residents, and your voices are essential in the fight to ensure they have what they need to survive (aka salmon snacks).

This petition closed on September 25, 2020.

THANK YOU to the 1,079 people who signed on to help orcas!

Full letter:

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.


What's happening here? 

A plan for the future management of federal dams in the Columbia River Basin, including four dams on the lower Snake River.  Federal agencies considered breaching these dams and recognized the significant benefit to salmon, but chose a plan that barely holds off extinction.  This follows 5 previous management plans that have been rejected by federal courts as inadequate for protecting endangered salmon.

Southern resident orca

This affects Southern Resident orcas? 

You bet! The Southern Residents rely on abundant and available salmon throughout their range to survive.  Without enough food, the orcas are suffering – they are skinny, more susceptible to illness and stress, and are struggling to give birth to healthy calves.

The Columbia River Basin was once home to the biggest runs of Chinook salmon in the world, with about half of those salmon returning to the Snake River.  Restoring the Snake River is one of the most significant things we can do to help recover those salmon quickly, and provide much-needed food for Southern Resident orcas in their coastal habitat.

Southern Resident orcas

What can we do? 

Since federal agencies opted to maintain the status quo, we're asking our elected leaders to step up.  It's time for a new, comprehensive plan to save salmon, Southern Resident orcas, and support Tribes and communities in the Pacific Northwest.

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