Free the Snake River
FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
Anglers, Conservationists Stand with Tribes in Call to Northwest Leaders: Stop Salmon Extinction
Escalating Crisis in Columbia River Basin Draws Hundreds to Waterfront Park to Support Largest Salmon Recovery Effort in History
PORTLAND, OR (June 25, 2022) – Families, kids, river enthusiasts, Tribal members, students, community leaders, and outdoor recreationists came together at Portland’s Willamette Park to demonstrate their support for immediate salmon and orca recovery and the removal of the lower Snake River dams. A massive flotilla of kayaks, canoes, fishing boats, SUPs and rafts launched from the shore of the Willamette River to celebrate the gift of wild salmon, which are rapidly declining and on the brink of extinction.
“The Rally for Salmon event showcases that there is tremendous public support across the region to save our salmon. The time is now to make the bold decisions needed to uphold the treaty obligation of the United States government to the Confederated Tribes of the Umatilla Indian Reservation, the Confederated Tribes of the Warm Springs Reservation of Oregon, the Nez Perce Tribe, the Confederated Tribes and Bands of the Yakama Nation, and all the Columbia River Basin Tribes by immediately prioritizing salmon recovery,” said Kat Brigham, Board of Trustees Chair, The Confederated Tribes of the Umatilla Indian Reservation. “We must do this for the next generation. CTUIR is looking at working with everyone in developing a Columbia River Basin plan for our future.”
“If we do nothing while temperatures rise in our rivers and the ocean becomes more hostile to our anadromous fish species, we will face extinctions for our fisheries and all those other species, like Orcas, that rely on them. This is cultural damage that we could never repair, for our Native Nations and for all citizens throughout the Pacific Northwest,” said Jeremy Takala, Councilmember, Yakama Nation.
“Recovering Snake River salmon and steelhead to harvestable abundance is going to take bold action. Join me and the many other anglers, conservationists, native people, and concerned citizens by demanding that our country do what's needed to truly recover these fish while keeping everyone that might be affected whole,” said Buzz Ramsey, a leading figure in the sportfishing industry. “Salmon define the boundaries of the Pacific Northwest and they are in trouble. Like me, there are so many across the Northwest that want, demand really, the action needed to restore these fish to abundance.”
Advocates for wild salmon are looking to U.S. Sen. Patty Murray, Gov. Jay Inslee, other Northwest policymakers to include lower Snake River dam removal in the comprehensive regional salmon restoration plan anticipated by July 31st.
“Salmon are the beating heart of the Northwest’s iconic rivers and the foundation of so many of our communities. Northwest residents are serious about salmon recovery. Now it’s time for Northwest lawmakers to get serious about salmon recovery with us,” said Liz Hamilton, executive director of the Northwest Sportfishing Industry Association.
Four Directions tribal drum group opened the speakers program, which included:
- Kat Brigham, Board of Trustees Chair, Confederated Tribes of the Umatilla Indian Reservation
- Jeremy Takala, Councilmember, Yakama Nation
- Jim McKenna, Natural Resource Advisor, Office of Oregon Governor Kate Brown
- Keyen Singer, Nizhoni Toledo, and Lindsey Littlesky Pasena, Confederated Tribes of the Umatilla Indian Reservation Youth Leadership Council
Media coverage and background resources:
Save the salmon, stop the extinction.