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PETITION

SPEAK FOR THE SALMON— FREE THE SNAKE

Honor and Respect Treaty Rights of the Nimiipuu (Nez Perce)

Every Voice is a Crack in the Dam.

We have a once-in-a-generation opportunity to restore wild salmon in the Pacific Northwest’s Columbia & Snake Rivers and their tributaries, once the greatest salmon rivers in the world. We can do this by removing four outdated and expensive dams on the lower Snake River.

 

For too long these 4 dams have impeded the rights of Nez Perce and other Northwest First Peoples to exercise Traditional Fishing Treaty Rights. The federal government promised the Nez Perce People the right to hunt and fish in their usual and accustomed places as part of the 1855 Treaty. The promise was broken.  It’s time to right this wrong.

Wild salmon, steelhead and pacific lamprey have been used by the Nez Perce People for subsistence, trade and ceremonial purposes for centuries. They are dying by the thousands due to these four outdated dams: Ice Harbor, Lower Monumental, Little Goose and Lower Granite.

 

For nearly 20 years, despite five failed, illegal plans, the federal agencies have refused to remove these dams. But now a federal judge has directly ordered the government to develop a new salmon restoration plan and to consider dam removal.  

Now the agencies are seeking the public’s input on what they should do. For years scientists have said that removing the four deadly dams on the lower Snake is the single biggest step we can take to restore wild salmon to the river basin.  

 

In this changing climate, the dams are creating further risk to our salmon, creating hot water temperatures behind the dams in summer that kill fish.  Removing these four dams would open up a pathway for salmon to thousands of miles of pristine cold-water streams in the wilderness of central Idaho—creating an ark for salmon in a warming world.

 

The time is now to remove the four outdated, low-value, deadbeat dams on the lower Snake River. If we free the Snake River, we can save the salmon, honor Treaty Rights and bring about the biggest river restoration in history.

 

Please join with the Nimiipuu (Nez Perce) to bring back the salmon by removing these four dams.

e a once-in-a-generation opportunity to restore wild salmon in the Pacific Northwest’s Columbia and Snake rivers, once the greatest salmon rivers in the world. We can do this by removing four outdated and expensive dams on the lower Snake River.

But we need your help.

 

For nearly 20 years, in spite of multiple court rulings that have found their actions illegal, the federal agencies that own these salmon-killing dams have refused to fully evaluate removing them. That changed last May when a federal court judge directly ordered the agencies to develop a plan for dam operations that will restore our wild salmon—and directed them to specifically consider dam removal.

 

Now the agencies are seeking the public’s input on what they should do. For years scientists have said that removing the four deadly dams on the lower Snake is the single biggest step we can take to restore wild salmon to the river basin.

 

Wild salmon, steelhead and pacific lamprey are dying by the thousands due to these four outdated dams: Ice Harbor, Lower Monumental, Little Goose and Lower Granite. Astonishingly, both taxpayers and rate-payers—you and me—lose millions of dollars operating and maintaining these dams every year even though they produce only about 3 percent of the region’s power and kill hundreds of thousands of baby salmon. Meanwhile, the electricity the dams produce can be economically replaced by carbon-free energy alternatives. The dams’ other primary purpose, providing barge transportation, has declined nearly 70 percent in 20 years and what little demand remains can be replaced by rail or other effective options.

 

Further, the dams exacerbate the effects of climate change on the few remaining salmon, trapping the fish in slack-water reservoirs that overheat and contribute to disease, mortality and increased predation. Removing these four dams would open up a pathway for salmon to thousands of miles of pristine cold-water streams in the wilderness of central Idaho—a concrete action to combat the worst effects of climate change on our wild salmon.

 

These salmon are an icon of the Pacific Northwest way of life. They are a keystone species that help keep the natural world healthy by bringing nutrients from the briny ocean back to the high mountain streams. They are a critical food source for many other species, including endangered orcas.

 

The time is now to remove the four outdated, low-value, deadbeat dams on the lower Snake River. If we free the Snake River, we can save the salmon and bring about the biggest river restoration in history.

Your personalized message will be added along with the following letter:

Remove the Snake River dams--restore wild salmon (RE: Columbia River System Operations Environmental Impact Statement)

Dear Administrator Mainzer, Commander Spellmon, and Director Lee:


It's past time to remove the four outdated, salmon-killing dams on the lower Snake River. This is an alternative you must consider fully and fairly in the court-ordered environmental impact statement you are preparing for managing the Columbia and Snake River dams. 

You must base your analysis of this alternative on the best available science about salmon and other species that depend on them, including endangered killer whales. The analysis must also fully account for the market and non-market economic costs and benefits of dam removal, including the benefits of a restored river and the money tax- and rate-payers will save if the dams go. You must incorporate in your evaluation replacing the electricity from these dams with low-cost carbon-free power, not power from fossil fuels. And you must actually mitigate for the existing and future impacts of climate change on Snake River salmon.

Such an analysis will lead you to conclude that these dams must go. We don't need them anymore--but we do need to bring back our irreplaceable wild salmon. The biggest step we can take on the path to salmon restoration in the Snake is to remove the lower Snake River dams

IMPORTANT NOTICE||

 

All information submitted with your comment (name, address, etc.) may be placed in the public record for this proceeding. Do NOT submit confidential or sensitive information.