The Path to Dam Removal is Here—The Time to Stop Extinction is Now!

The Path to Dam Removal is Here

The Path to Dam Removal is Here—The Time to Stop Extinction is Now!

After decades of inaction, real cause for hope.

Opposition to the Lower Snake River dams began before they were ever constructed. Well before I was born, people fought to protect a free-flowing river. They fought to protect the salmon, who twice a year travel along the Columbia River—just miles from where I was born and raised.

As a kid, I remember learning about salmon—their life cycle, the long annual journey they take to the Pacific Ocean and back to their spawning grounds in the Snake River, how connected they are to our ecosystem and to Tribal communities. I remember seeing pictures of them leaping up waterfalls in a spectacular show of their instinctual drive to return home.

At the time, I didn’t understand the challenges salmon faced on that journey, how humans blockaded the rivers with a sequence of massive, harmful dams. Dams created in the aggressive push for humans’ dominance over nature—a push to advance a new level of control over the West’s wild water systems—a push that would force salmon to the brink of extinction.

Now, for the first time in my life, we stand at the cusp of a plan to move what has at times seemed immovable—the Lower Snake River dams. This summer, Governor Inslee and Senator Murray will release the plan to replace the dams’ services, with the hope of saving our struggling Pacific Northwest salmon and Southern Resident orcas from extinction. All the while, support for dam removal continues to increase as Tribes, community members, and elected officials come together to rethink our relationships to the river, to repair some of the trauma and harm we have caused, and to try to save iconic salmon and beloved orcas from extinction.

The splash of a salmon jump ripples through generations. I am humbled to work in collaboration with so many dedicated folks, some of whom were hard at work on this issue when I was a kid. This is the most exciting, promising moment for this effort in decades—and we must seize this opportunity to move our elected officials to take action.

Together, we can accomplish one of the biggest salmon recoveries in history. I hope you will join us this summer in the fight to stop extinction.

Take Action: Snake River Dams

Let's send a message to Northwest leaders: Un-dam the Snake River. Save the salmon, stop the extinction.