Restore Northwest Salmon

In 2008, the Bush Administration imposed a plan that allows these lethal dams to continue killing up to 90% of some Snake River salmon runs. Earthjustice challenged the plan in court soon after it was issued, and now the Obama administration is conducting a 60-day review of that plan; providing some extra time to explore a way to resolve this long-running controversy.

Wild salmon and steelhead of the Columbia and Snake Rivers connect coastal and river communities from California to Alaska and inland as far as Idaho and Nevada. Earthjustice has been in court for over a decade fighting on behalf of fishermen and conservationists to protect and restore this endangered national treasure.

Working together, NOAA, CEQ, and the Corps can lead efforts to restore these vital wild salmon runs and make local communities whole again by bringing together key stakeholders in the Pacific Northwest to craft an effective, legal, and science-based blueprint to resolve this long-standing controversy in a way that produces healthy salmon populations, sustainable new jobs, healthy economies, an improved transportation system, and clean and affordable energy.

The recovery of the Snake River salmon runs is especially critical because these fish migrate the furthest, past the most dams, and yet have access to the largest area of unspoiled spawning habitat of any Columbia Basin salmon — millions of acres of cool, high-elevation wilderness in central Idaho and northwest Oregon. This wild salmon refuge will be critical as the effects of global warming impact the west.

In announcing his preliminary conclusions about the Bush salmon plan, U.S. District Court Judge James Redden warned that “Federal Defendants have spent the better part of the last decade treading water, and avoiding their obligations under the Endangered Species Act. . . . We simply cannot afford to waste another decade.”

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