Washington: Take Action Now for Orcas!
The Trump administration and the US Dept of Army Corps are continuing to attack states’ efforts to protect clean water and sustainable fisheries.
The federal government’s own studies show that the large, shallow reservoirs on the Lower Snake and Columbia rivers soak up the sun’s energy and make the water too hot for endangered salmon and steelhead. Southern Resident orcas are on the brink of extinction, partly because they cannot find enough Chinook salmon to eat. Despite these declines, salmon biologists also view the Snake River basin as among the best Chinook salmon restoration opportunities anywhere on the West Coast. Rather than taking steps to reduce the dams’ temperature pollution, the Trump administration’s Army Corps appealed the temperature limits imposed by Washington regulators to the Washington Pollution Control Hearings Board.
We must put pressure on our elected officials to restore cold, clean water that supports strong salmon and orca populations for generations to come. But recovering salmon and orcas requires action in Congress, too. Tell Senators Murray and Cantwell, and the EPA, to develop a regional solution—including Lower Snake River dam removal—that protects salmon, Southern Resident orcas, and our communities.
Please take action today and tell Northwest elected leaders to develop inclusive solutions to keep the rivers cool, protect salmon, and reinvest in river communities.
** Sample letter **
“I’m writing to ask for your leadership to reduce water temperatures in the Snake and Columbia River to protect and restore endangered salmon, the Southern Resident orcas, and the communities who depend on them.
Specifically, I request that you consider the following points:
* The Lower Snake and Columbia rivers are too hot for endangered salmon and steelhead. The Total Maximum Daily Load (TMDL) study recently released by EPA clearly shows that the dams are the main cause of increased water temperatures.
* Large, shallow reservoirs created by the dams—coupled with intensifying climate change—threaten the Columbia and Snake rivers’ already-imperiled salmon and steelhead.
* The science is clear—restoring the Lower Snake River is our very best opportunity to restore imperiled salmon and orca populations.
* I urge you to work with the people and policymakers in the Northwest to develop a comprehensive package of measures that restores the Lower Snake River and its salmon, helps feed starving Southern Resident orca, and invests in clean energy that protects the health of our communities and our river.
*Northwest communities and leaders must work together to craft a bold and effective plan that achieves these goals as quickly as possible. Without effective leadership, we risk losing these iconic species and the special benefits they bring to our region.
Thank you again for your careful consideration of this request.”