From last year’s record-breaking fire season to poor ocean conditions, hotter summers, and reduced snowpack, it’s evident that the climates of the Pacific Northwest and the coast are changing.
Earlier this year, the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration’s fisheries projected that climate change could cause the already low survival rates of the Snake River spring chinook to drop.
We need urgent action to counter the destructive effects of fish from warming oceans and reduced river flows. We must take bold actions and make significant investments where we have management control: hydroelectricity and housing.
The Snake River Basin represents the coldest and most intact habitat of the lower 48 states: 30,000 miles of incredibly important high-altitude cold-water spawning refuge in a warmer, drier future.
Unfortunately, only a very small percentage of the fish spawned in this pristine habitat can return due to the devastating effects of the four lower dams on the Snake River.
We are at the crossroads of a climate crisis and extinction. Our salmon no longer have time to wait. Do we want to tell our grandchildren that we let the salmon die out? Or do we want a future with abundant and exploitable salmon tracks that support businesses and unforgettable experiences?
It is time to remove the four roadblocks. U.S. Representative Earl Blumenauer, D-Ore. And U.S. Representative Mike Simpson, R-Idaho, are ready to have tough conversations to find comprehensive solutions to this complex and pervasive problem. Other regional elected officials must get involved in the development of a legislative solution that doubles the returns of wild salmon and ensures the stability of communities dependent on rivers.