Wednesday, July 25, 2007
Political maneuvering by this Administration around salmon issues is nothing new. While campaigning both in 2000 and 2004, President George W. Bush used the lower Snake River dams as a "wedge issue", dividing and instilling fear in local communities. Speaking at Ice Harbor dam in Eastern Washington in August of 2003, he said the four lower Snake River dams would never come down under his watch.
Bush might be right about this one. But we're not sure what he means by "his watch," when salmon in the Columbia-Snake basin have declined dramatically throughout his presidency. Regardless, for all of his Administration's suppression of science and manipulation of policy, the voices for lower Snake River dam removal are stronger than ever.
Continuing north on Interstate 5, we returned to Oregon and the district of Congressman Peter DeFazio. It was here, in Eugene and Coos Bay, that the Road Show kicked off a month ago. Rep. DeFazio is an interesting character in the evolving story salmon recovery in the Columbia-Snake Basin. While his work to protect salmon and salmon-dependent communities has been helpful to southern Oregon and northern California, he is actively working against any progress in the Columbia-Snake Basin. We can only surmise that he values his ties to river industrialists and the Bonneville Power Administration, a powerful utility, more than the communities of this region.
Call Congressman Peter DeFazio's: (202) 225-6416
Tell him to support real salmon recovery on the Snake and Columbia Rivers.
-Bobby and Jeremy
Tuesday, July 24, 2007
We slept last night literally in the shadows of California's capital building in Sacramento. We awoke, not only with these mixed emotions, but also with a sense of awe at the massive power contained within this building’s walls. We can only hope that our work these past five weeks has created energy that will penetrate inside the walls of power that can aid us in our campaign to decommission the lower Snake River dams.
After adorning Fin with our signs for the last time, we met with the local CBS affiliate for an interview, and then headed to one last farmers market. We were met with the requisite funny looks and questions, but something just felt different. Each signature carried a little extra weight, each answer was imbued with a drop more pressure than normal, as we realized these were our last opportunities of the road show to spread our message.
But as we climbed into our rig and pointed our Salmon definitively north, we agreed that far from being an ending, this was only another beginning. The campaign does not end here, it will need your support more than ever to capitalize on this new ground swell of support and momentum.
Until tomorrow, please enjoy this retrospective of our travels, and watch as Fin travels over 3500 miles in just over one minute:
Jeremy and Bobby
Nevada's Senator, Majority Leader Harry Reid, is an important figure in shaping the future of our country, and that means he has an opportunity to help shape the future of salmon and salmon-dependent communities in the Northwest. We made sure to stop by Senator Reid’s office while in Reno, where we were joined by Andy Mitchell from Patagonia.
The Senator's Regional Representative, Matt Tuma, was there to greet us and talk about our campaign. We made sure to stress the importance of Senator Reid’s role in addressing the Columbia-Snake Basin salmon crisis and the opportunities, both economic and cultural, of restored salmon and steelhead on the Snake River.
Time is of the essence for these fish and the communities that depend on them. Each conversation we have with key leaders like Senator Reid can bring about positive steps towards real solutions for the Northwest and the nation. We need Senator Reid’s help now, more than ever!
Take Action: Send an email to Senator Reid here!
Or contact his office:
- Washington, D.C.: 202-224-3542
- Las Vegas: 702-388-5020
- Reno: 775-686-5750
Urge him to take a lead in solving the Northwest Salmon crisis that affects taxpayers across the country!
On Monday, we bid farewell to the lovely state of Nevada, taking good memories and campaign momentum back to the Columbia & Snake Rivers.
We are now on our way to California’s capital city, Sacramento!
-Bobby, Jeremy, and Buddy
Monday, July 23, 2007
It was conceived of as a Save Our Wild Salmon outreach event for Reno's hip young adult crowd. Over a delicious meal of glazed Salmon (see below for the heartbreakingly good recipe) and a local micro brew from a brewery called Great Basin Brewing Co., we had the opportunity to educate between thirty and forty people about our campaign.
We anticipated that this crowd would immediately want to get involved, so we had a table set-up with postcards, petitions and information they could take-away with them. This event was highly successful, thanks in large part to the organizing done by Andy Mitchell from Patagonia, who recruited the party attendees and even served as host, inviting us into his home and backyard for the event.
The night's signature dish was glazed salmon that left everyone wanting the recipe. The creator of the glaze, Josh Wozniak - also of Patagonia fame - happily offered the secret to this slammin' salmon recipe, as well as the back story. Enjoy:
LC's Heartbreakingly Awesome Salmon Glaze
I was initially treated to the wonderment of this salmon glaze by my girlfriend, who's an amazing cook. I thought that I'd never be able to re-create this, seeing as I am well versed in the art of the perfect grilled cheese sandwich and not in the art of mixing ingredients together.
This recipe will cover two good sized fillets; double the quantities as needed for additional pieces of salmon.
For the glaze itself:
- 3 tbsp honey 1 tbsp dijon mustard
- 1 tbsp (chopped) scallion
- 1/4 tsp cayenne pepper
- 1/2 tsp (chopped) thyme
- 1/2 tsp salt
Place these ingredients in a tightly closed jar and shake until well mixed, then pour from jar onto salmon fillets.
Preheat your charcoal (my preference) or gas grill, liberally coat the top side of your salmon fillets with the glaze, and place skin-side down on your grill, let salmon cook approximately 8-10 mins then close grill cover and let cook another 2-4 mins.
Ideally, you will want the salmon fillet to still appear almost raw in the center of the thickest part of the fillet by about a 1/2".
By removing the fillet from the heat of the grill at this point, you will have a medium rare piece of salmon.
That's it for now from the roadshow - Jeremy, Bobby and Buddy
Sunday, July 22, 2007
After a long and beautiful drive through the desert of Nevada, past Death Valley, Area 51, and Joshua Tree National Park, we pulled into the Patagonia outlet in Reno, NV for some well deserved sleep. We awoke to find a fascinating building (the only LEED certified office building in the state of Nevada) in full swing. The outlet was having a massive sale, and excited outdoor enthusiasts were absolutely looting the place. We spent the entire day outside of the store talking to people from Nevada and beyond.
That evening we were treated to a slamming party by our Patagonia contact Andy Mitchell. It was very well attended and we talked everyone up about the campaign over delicious local brews and perfectly barbequed wild salmon. Thanks to Andy's knowledge of salmon recovery, everyone at the gathering was aware and concerned about Snake River issues and wanted to know how they could help get Senator Harry Reid involved. And of course all of these big kids had to climb into Fin a few times. She was very well received and enjoyed by all. Thanks again to Andy and Cameron, our wonderful hosts!
We awoke feeling great on Sunday morning and went back to the Patagonia store for a few hours. We were immediately met by a reporter from Reno's NPR station who pulled off the first ever radio interview from within a salmon, spending a good ten minutes inside of Fin as I explained our trip and the campaign. Shortly thereafter the local CBS television news, KTVN, interviewed Bobby.
By midday, we said goodbye our friends at Patagonia, and packed up to head to Lake Tahoe for a concert by the legendary Afrobeats artist Femi Kuti. After a wonderfully refreshing dip into Lake Tahoe, we pulled into the Truckee Regional Park, on the California side of the border, to find a spot to set-up. We sat for a few minutes to plan our attack when suddenly we were approached by a truck, tricked out with reggae graphics on the side and back, that we had seen back on the highway. Apparently they had somehow noticed us as well.
It turned out to be the truck of the M.C. for the concert. He fell immediately for our road show star and gathered all of his friends to check her out. After we were positioned by the front of the parking lot, he even announced to the entire show that everyone should come check us out during set break. It turned into quite a scene, with Reggae fans swarming Fin and our petitions.
As we pulled off into the night we agreed that it was another successful weekend on the road show, and lamented that it was indeed our last. That’s right, this road show is coming to an end, with only two more stops before we point our salmon north for her final spawning of the summer, back up to Chimicum.
But this is no time to stop reading the blog, because its about to really heat up with some retrospective videos, including one entitled: “Now It Can Be Told,” which covers shocking behind the scenes footage. So tune in again soon.
Jeremy, Bobby and Buddy
Saturday, July 21, 2007
Nevada is an interesting state in the story of the Columbia & Snake River Basin. Spanning six western states (Nevada, Wyoming, Idaho, California, Washington, and Oregon), the Columbia-Snake Basin was once home to the largest runs of salmon and steelhead anywhere in the world. The mighty salmon and steelhead in this watershed once made their voyage from the sea back to spawning grounds in the Owyhee and Bruneau, two of northern Nevada’s main rivers. While many in southern Nevada found this fact suprising, northern Nevada residents are unfazed, many of them remembering the role salmon played in their community.
First Visit: Senator Harry Reid’s Office
Send a message to Senator Reid.
Second Visit: Congresswoman Shelley Berkley’s Office
Don’t Let the Federal Agencies Gamble with Salmon Recovery!
The Northwest and the nation can no longer afford the ineffective, expensive tactics taken at the federal level by NOAA Fisheries, Bonneville Power Administration, and the Army Corps of Engineers. Our tax dollars are dwindling along with the decline of Columbia & Snake River salmon and steelhead.
With more than $7 billion dollars already spent on failed, illegal plans, enough is enough. Congressional leadership in Nevada, the West, and the nation, we can help restore wild salmon and leave a legacy for future generations.
ADD YOUR VOICE! Urge Congress to move forward with sound salmon recovery effort!
Thanks to all those who helped us in Vegas! See ya in Reno!
-Bobby, Jeremy, Fin, Buddy and Buster
Friday, July 20, 2007
There were simply far too many venues to cover them all, not to mention the crowds that gathered the second we pulled up anywhere. But we wondered, what would our 25-foot first lady of salmon look like next to the Statue of Liberty? Or the Sphinx? How about a giant Salmon in front of a giant castle? And lets not forget the Eiffel tower, and the Belagio's famous water show!
People are going to want answers to these hard hitting questions, and we were determined to get the photographic evidence they desired.
So, without further ado, please enjoy our fave five from Fin’s time on the strip:
Thursday, July 19, 2007
As our road trip rolled through the high desert south of Las Vegas, our radiator hose decided to announce itself as a problem child by exploding off of the radiator and draining our coolant all over the engine. If we thought it was hot in Phoenix, we learned new things about heat over the next several hours as we sat stranded in the middle of the desert with nothing but visions of rattlesnakes and water bottles full of sand dancing in our heads.
Eventually we met our saviour, a man named Clarence who just happens to build race cars in his spare time. Although Bobby and I had spent a considerable amount of time staring into the mysterious area we refer to as “under the hood,” we had never noticed the giant rubber hose hanging loosely between the radiator and the coolant tank. It took Clarence all of five seconds to diagnose our problem, and another 30 to fix it. Minutes later we were adding water and coolant to the tank, and we were on our way within 90 minutes. We owe a deep debt of gratitude to Clarence, who was a true life saver.
Although we were late for set-up we made it to the Farmers Market in Las Vegas just as it was opening. It is located on the outskirts of the city in a lovely, leafy green park. It was a small but vibrant market with some of the nicest people, and definitely the best BBQ food we have experienced on this trip. We had some great conversations, and collected many signatures for the petition. A special thanks to Ginger for all her warm welcome and all of her help.
And, now we are in Vegas, with its limitless possibilities. We plan on spending a good chunk of Thursday cruising the world-famous Strip (we promised Buster he could see the sights!), and will spend the evening at the local minor baseball game between the Vegas 51’s and Portland Beavers. (For those who follow such things, the 51's are the AAA affiliate of the Los Angeles Dodgers; the Beavers are part of the San Diego Padres organization.)
That’s it for now from the roadshow crew!
- Jeremy, Bobby and Buddy
Tuesday, July 17, 2007
Today the road show braved the 115 degree heat (don’t worry, it felt like 112) of Phoenix to bring our campaign to the people of this molten area.
We started off our day at the Arizona Science Center, where we were met by nearly 100 kids as soon as we pulled up. Fin was a little nervous when she saw the excited gaggle of campers, but she put her all into it, and I would like to report that the roadshow set a world record by stuffing 23 kids into Fin at the same time. Don't believe me? Watch this dramatic newscast of the event, which played all across the state:
The kids had spent the past week learning about sea animals, and were particularly interested in salmon because they are anadromous fish, which are those that spend the majority of their life at sea and return to the exact freshwater streams and rivers where they were born in order to spawn.
A good time was had by all, and Fin needed the biggest glass of water you have ever seen by the time they left us.
Next the roadshow team (currently Bobby Hayden, Jeremy Nickel and Buddy) dropped in on Senator John McCain’s office. We were very well received by staff assistant Carlos Sierra, who came out to meet Fin and had a long and detailed conversation with us about the campaign, its goals, and what we were asking McCain to do. He was very interested to hear about the Snake River dams and the plight of the salmon.
We then headed to Bass Pro Shops, a gigantic fishing megastore just outside of Phoenix, in Mesa, AZ. I have seen some crazy things before, but two floors that stretched over half a city block dedicated to fishing and hunting was certainly something neither Fin or I will ever forget. The store has its own waterfall, several aquarium-sized fish tanks, and a stocked river that ran through it. Not to mention a shooting range, video arcade and restaurant all on premises.
We spent the next five hours talking to hunters and fishers about wild salmon, the Snake River, dams, fishing, and anything else that came up, and most of it did. And did I mention that it was hot? Because as we pulled out at 9pm it was still 109 degrees, but of course it only felt like 106.
Stay cool and check in tomorrow. Where are we going next you ask? Vegas baby.
- Jeremy, Bobby, and Buddy
Monday, July 16, 2007
Monday could have been a horrible day. In the morning we woke to a flat tire, only to discover that in total, four new tires were needed. Guillermo at Purcell’s Tires was a champ, fixing us up at lightening speed and getting us back on the road for one heck of a day!
Our first stop: Dry Creek Outfitters
Our first stop was Dry Creek Outfitters in Tucson, an independently-owned fly shop dedicated to bringing together the best products the fly fishing industry has to offer in one great store. It was nice to get back into a fly shop, our first in a few days, and spend time with someone whose passion and livelihood is dependent on the streams and rivers of the West.
Eric Loeffler has owned Dry Creek Outfitters for the last eight years. Talking with him, the strong connection between healthy rivers and the vitality of his industry was really clear. Time and time again, on the road show and within our coalition, we've seen that the angling community is just that – a community of shared interest with shared goals: clean rivers, healthy runs of fish, and plenty of recreational opportunities. Fly-shops have a way of becoming gathering spots to talk about all things in the river and out. We appreciate the places like Dry Creek that can foster dialogue among community members about their watersheds.
Our next stop: Congressman Grijalva’s Office
This part of Arizona is represented in Congress by Rep. Raúl Grijalva, a champion of smart conservation and a friend of wild salmon and steelhead in the Columbia & Snake Rivers. If today is any indication, his staff is too!
Grijalva’s Tucson staff welcomed the Road Show with open arms and fell in love with us…okay maybe just Fin.
Thanks to Grijalva’s staff for making it a great visit and we thank you for your support!
Our final Monday stop: Tucson Children’s Museum
Up in the Pacific Northwest, we like to think of ourselves as tough troopers when it comes rain. Well, we might have some competition from kids in Tucson that didn’t let a little drizzle get in their way of enjoying a giant salmon. Thanks to Tad Beckwith, museum founder Evelyn Carswell, and everyone at the Tucson Children’s Museum.
Things we learned:
- The Gila River in Arizona used to mark the US / Mexico border
- There are 13 forest animals painted on the mural inside of Fin
- Fin’s inside also makes a great den for two bobcat warriors (please contact Micah and his buddy for more on this evolving story as it unfolds in their backyards)
All in all a great Monsoon Monday in Tucson! Stay tuned as we beat the heat in Phoenix!
-Bobby and Jeremy
Sunday, July 15, 2007
What better way to kick off our Arizona leg of the Wild Salmon Road Show than a Sunday afternoon with America’s pastime: Baseball!
Buster is a fan (the Florida Marlins are his favorite MLB team) and a player (see below) and he most certainly was a hit with Phoenix residents.
Baseball fans are known for their love of statistics. Let’s review a breakdown of Snake River salmon stats.
Behind the Numbers – Hard-hitting Facts about Salmon Recovery:
$7 billion: Number of US taxpayer dollars (that’s you too Arizona!) spent on previous salmon “recovery” plans that have led only to more failure. That is well above the salary cap Americans are willing to pay for illegal programs.
3: Number of Snake River sockeye salmon that returned to their spawning grounds in 2006. Three strikes and these salmon are out, extinct, forever.
Up to 90%: Percentage of out-migrating juvenile salmon that are killed by the dams in the Columbia-Snake Rivers on their way out to the Pacific. This means the dams' are batting close to a thousand in the salmon killing average.
Average 4%: Percentage of peak power generation provided by the four lower Snake River for the Pacific Northwest. These dams are “run-of-the-river” dams, where power is based on river flow that varies widely throughout the year. Sound investments in real renewable energy can bring sustainable solutions that replace these out-dated and lethal dams.
3: Number of federal salmon plans that have been ruled illegal in federal court for failing salmon, salmon-dependent communities, and American taxpayers.
Congress: End this vicious cycle in the courts and
Call for real recovery!
Saturday we awoke in San Pedro, California, the Los Angeles suburb that is home to one of the nation’s largest ports, and to the wonderful Cabrillo Marine Aquarium.
Linda, Alfonso and a whole host of staff and volunteers extended a warm welcome and helped us throughout the day. They shared stories about the beginnings of the aquarium, close to 75 years ago, when specimens from the surrounding ecosystem were collected by volunteers and housed in an old bathhouse that became the aquarium’s first home.
Since those early years, Cabrillo has been engaging the public in all aspects of marine life and has maintained a vibrant volunteer base – so many of all ages! Several young volunteers proudly shared their knowledge of the salmon’s lifecycle and the importance of salmon to both the Pacific ocean and to the rivers and streams throughout the West.
Fin again took comfort, knowing that these committed kids will be shaping future policies with her and her fellow salmon in mind. You can read more about the failed federal salmon policies that have been hurting the Northwest and the nation here.
Saturday, July 14, 2007
Bart and Milhouse enjoy a healthy Wild Salmon squishee as Fin passes
On day 18, our road show made its most cartoonish of stops. We had not realized that the hometown of Bart Simpson, Springfield, was in southern California, but at about 2 pm we pulled into the most famous convenience store in the world, the Kwik-E-Mart frequented by America's first family of cartoons.
We had a long chat with Apu, who runs the Kwik-E-Mart. As a devout Hindu he was shocked to hear about the plight of the salmon. He anxiously signed one of our petitions, and agreed to keep a copy at the front desk for his many customers to sign. He also vowed to switch his salmon-flavored Squishee drinks to Wild only, a huge success for the campaign.
As you can see from the picture above, Bart and Milhouse were already outside on the roof enjoying the newly Wild flavor as we pulled away and drove off into the only slightly more real city of Los Angeles.
Tomorrow we will be at the Cabrillo Aquarium in San Pedro, CA., which will be our final stop in southern California before we leave Saturday evening for Phoenix, where our first stop will be an Arizona Diamondbacks baseball game.
See you soon!
- Jeremy and Bobby
Friday, July 13, 2007
Today was another amazing day with FIN talking to hundreds of people about Columbia and Snake River salmon recovery and how they can get involved and help. We spent the day in the Santa Barbara town center and at the Carpinteria Farmers Market on the south coast of California.
Mauricio Gomez and Suzanne Feldman from the Community Environmental Council (CEC) were fantastic local hosts for the day. Suzanne did a tremendous amount of advance work to help us secure great places to display FIN. Mo and Suzanne also did a great job reaching out to their networks and to the local media. As part of the CEC, they are leading the charge on water and river-related projects that are focused improving water quality and habitat for, among other critters, wild steelhead. THANK YOU MO AND SUZANNE!
If you are interested in owning one of these gorgeous steelhead sculptures that accompanied FIN (see the photos), check out the CEC website or contact Mo or Suzanne directly, you can even bid on the sculptures and keep one for your very own.
JUST SO YOU KNOW: Salmon historically once returned to places as far south as Baja California (amazing but true!). But today, the hardy and resilient steelhead is the only salmonid that holds on south of Santa Cruz CA. Steelhead are kissing cousins with salmon. They are different than salmon that spawn once and die. Adult steelhead can, after spawning in fresh water, return to the ocean to grow strong again and eventually return to its stream to spawn again.
We also were visited by U.S. Congresswoman Lois Capps’ district director Sharon Siegel and her husband, who dropped by to say hello and peek inside our ginormous fish. We took the opportunity to express our deep appreciation for Rep. Capps’ leadership to restore healthy, fishable populations of salmon and steelhead, and the communities that depend on them. Rep. Capps is one of the 65 co-sponsors of the Salmon Economic Analysis & Planning Act (H.R. 1507), a bi-partisan bill currently before the House that seeks to restore sound science and fiscal responsibility to failing federal salmon recovery efforts in the Columbia/Snake River basin. THANK YOU REP. CAPPS FOR YOUR SUPPORT!
Finally, thanks to Mike McCorkle and his wife Linda who joined us at the Farmers Market. Mike has been fishing off the Santa Barbara coast for salmon for many years, and has been active in the commercial fishing community to make sure that that we have salmon returning to our rivers and our plates for generations to come!
We also met dozens of people in the last several days who are working and volunteering to restore healthy wild steelhead populations in the local coastal rivers and streams like the Ventura, the Ojai, the Carpinteria and the Mission. Across Ventura County, people have been working for years to remove the Matilija Dam to restore health to Matilija Creek and the Ventura River. The obsolete dam prevents endangered steelhead from accessing many miles of historic habitat as it prevents the natural flow of sand and sediment from the mountains to the beaches. A coalition of stakeholders succeeded in gaining approval to remove the aging structure, and the initial steps to begin removal are under way.
We also had the pleasure of meeting Craig Fusaro, Ph.D. Craig is a long-time leader in California Trout. CalTrout has been working for years to restore trout, steelhead and other freshwater fishes to California’s rivers and streams. Craig is a powerhouse – a local leader working with conservationists, fishermen and many others on a host of issues. Thank you Craig for your help to get the word out about FIN’s arrival and your work and interest in salmon and steelhead recovery projects across the coast.
Also, check out this video of our visit, courtesy of local blogger David Pritchett. David is a restoration ecologist, a founding member of the Santa Barbara City Creeks Committee, and head of FiSHTAP, his own small consulting firm. Thanks, David!
Wednesday, July 11, 2007
Patagonia is headquartered in a funky little surf town about an hour north of Los Angeles and we pulled in with Fin around lunch time.
Both the flagship retail store and the corporate headquarters are located on an unassuming street just of off Main St., and we were welcomed into their midst like conquering heroes. Patagonia is one of those organizations that you are glad to know exists. Sure they want to make money, but not only do they make a more than solid product, their entire organization also has that special quality of going above and beyond that makes us proud to be associated so closely with them.
When we parked in front we were immediately greeted by that stores Environmental Grants manager (shouldn't every store have one of those?), and were asked to join the staff in their all- organic cafeteria for lunch. Having eaten many of my last 30 or so meals out of a can, I was all to happy to accept and leave Fin to fend for herself for an hour.
After a great salad and bowl of hearty homemade chili, we got back down to business. Over the course of the next 5 hours most of the 350 onsite employees made their way down to check out Fin, learn about our campaign, sign our petition and hear our words of thanks for their support.
Patagonia Founder adds his name to our petition
The founder of Patagonia, Yvon Chouinard, came down to meet, greet and sign, as did all the children in the employee childcare program. We were able to get an especially adorable picture of the kids holding our banner, which is at the top of this post. Hopefully, with the support of great companies like Patagonia, these kids will live up to the words of that sign, and extinction will stop here, with them.
For now, for us, its onward and upward on this fight to save wild salmon. Today, upward literally means temporarily heading back up north to Santa Barbara for some community outreach at the central Paseo Nuevo Mall, and then back down to Carpinteria in the evening for a seaside farmers market.
Tune in tomorrow, same Salmon time, same Salmon channel.
The day started slowly but quickly picked up as the sun made its first appearance around 11 am. And once the pace quickened, it never died down.
I think its safe to say that Fin has never had so much attention in her twenty years of life. She was full of the sounds of laughing, happy children for seven straight hours as her two helper friends (that’s currently myself and Save Our Wild Salmon outreach director Joseph Bogaard) struggled to keep up with the insightful questions of the parents accompanying the squealing joyful children.
We gathered hundreds of signatures for our petition, and even had to make a dash to Kinkos at one point to ensure that we had enough for everyone to sign. It is clear that our message of salmon habitat restoration through dam removal resonated particularly well in this city that combines a love for animals and a passion for helping protect them.
After a long but fruitful day we pointed our fish southward towards southern California and made some tracks. Wednesday will find us at the headquarters of Patagonia in Ventura, California. Thursday we will be in Santa Barbara for a number of outreach activities, culminating in a farmers market in nearby Carpinteria. Friday brings our first and only scheduled off-day of this five-week journey. (Although Bobby Hayden rejoins the team that day, and has promised Fin and Buster a stop at the Santa Monica Pier and a quick look at Venice Beach. So we'll see.)
Saturday we wrap up the California portion of our trip with a day at the Cabrillo Aquarium, in San Pedro, just south east of Las Angeles.
After California we will be crossing the border into Arizona for what promises to be a hot time. Stay tuned!
Tuesday, July 10, 2007
Saturday, July 7, 2007
On Saturday, Fin hung out in Half Moon Bay, Ca., a sleepy little town about 25 miles south of San Francisco. Surrounded by local organic produce, fresh caught seafood, and belly dancers, we spent the morning and afternoon talking to the locals and collecting signatures.
It should come as no surprise to anyone that we continue to encounter amazing generosity from the men and women selling their produce, local cheeses and fresh-caught fish at these markets. Not only do they immediately offer up their signatures for our petition, but this is generally followed by offerings of fresh peaches, roasted nuts, smoked salmon, strawberries, cheese and other delicious treats. My personal favorite being the pluot, a cross between a plum and an apricot for the uninitiated
Our Saturday at the farmers market in Half Moon Bay was followed by Sunday at another thriving farmers market in Menlo Park, which is just outside of Palo Alto. This was possibly our most successful brush with a farmers market. Not only was it packed with interested people, but one of the sellers mentioned that we should stop at their farm on the way to Santa Cruz. We of course took them up on this offer and were suddenly enjoying chocolate dipped strawberries within view of the pounding California surf.
And the happy coincidences continued to roll-in as we met a lovely family from the area that informed us we were at Scott's Creek, which happens to be the Southern most salmon run in California. And it got even better when the family invited us to dinner at their house which sits right on the side of the creek. After we pulled up, I was given a walking tour of the creek by their seven year old son Rowen, who pointed out each little salmon that would over the coming months grow big and strong in preparation for their journey up Scott's Creek and into the Pacific Ocean.
It was truly a magical day and evening.
After a soothing back-country sleep, we awoke to deliver Fin to a photo shoot at the meeting point of Scott's Creek and the Pacific Ocean, and as I write this we are just pulling in to the Patagonia store in Santa Cruz, where we will be spending the morning and early afternoon.
So, tune in again soon to hear of our continued adventures on the road with America's favorite giant salmon.
While we were there we saw all kinds of people, including this gentleman who loves wild salmon and steelhead so much, he tattooed one on his arm.
We also ran into salmon and steelhead activists like Cindy Charles, Conservation chair of the Golden West Women Flyfishers club. Cindy works to protect wild salmon and steelhead populations throughout California and has been a long-time supporter of, and volunteer for, Save our Wild Salmon. She loved seeing FIN and asked “so, what do salmon really want?” FIN almost cracked a smile, but remained silent.
Everyone at the Aquarium took super care of us. FIN got a fin massage (only in San Francisco…) and the salmon wranglers enjoyed some delicious fresh donuts and other tasty treats.
Kids were everywhere and as usual, FIN was a great big hit. FIN sends a great big THANK YOU to the animal husbandry staff, the facilities management people, the ticketing clerks, and the marketing director who helped make our visit a huge success.
If you are in San Francisco, you really shouldn’t miss the Aquarium of the Bay!
Most of the time, it is easy, amazingly easy, to get people to sign our petition urging the federal government to remove the four dams on the lower Snake River. We are limited only by the number of stops on our tour and the number of fish wranglers who can speak to the public about our issue.
Folks almost always sign the petition when they learn that:
- One species of Pacific salmon (Snake River coho salmon) has already gone extinct;
- Just three individual Snake River sockeye salmon returned to spawn last year (three (3) ... count'em: one, two, three!);
- The federal government has spent more than $7 billion taxpayer dollars on failed efforts to protect these fish (such as sucking juveniles out of the river and placing them in trucks to drive them around the dams) and they plan to spend billions more, even though these practices will not protect or restore the species;
- Family-owned commercial and sport fishing businesses all along the coast have suffered greatly in the four decades since these salmon-killing dams have been built;
- The decline in Columbia and Snake River salmon populations means that the U.S. federal government is (once again) violating its treaty obligations with Native American nations.
Once or twice a day, we speak to someone who is unmoved by these facts. They want to protect endangered species or they wouldn't be talking to us; but removing four federally operated dams ....?
I know what they are thinking. They believe the dams are permanent fixtures in the environment. Immutable barriers to migrating salmon.
I remind them that when my parents were born, none of these dams existed. Heck, I am older than all but one of the four dams on the Lower Snake River (Ice Harbor was constructed in 1962).
"Concrete doesn't last forever, y'know".
I never need to say more than that. People remember that they've tripped on a cracked sidewalk or had to repair the foundation on their house. If concrete doesn't last forever, then the dams won't last forever. If the dams haven't been there forever and they're not going to be there forever, then the only questions are: When will the dams come down? Will it be before or after we lose the four species of wild salmon that still spawn in the Snake River basin?
Once they've followed that train of thought, even the most skeptical Road Show visitor will sign the petition.
Only the sky is forever and THE RIVER BATS LAST...
Friday, July 6, 2007
We just got this letter from Buster about his days off in Portland and restoration happening on the Sandy River in Oregon…
Dear Road Show Crew,
Thanks for giving me the opportunity to take a break back to my home waters. I miss you guys already and wanted to share some great news!
Yesterday I went down and celebrated the success-story-to-be that is the Sandy River with a bunch of friends in downtown Portland. The Western Rivers Conservancy helped host a celebration of the upcoming removal of both Marmot Dam and the Little Sandy River Dam that will bring salmon and steelhead back and allow for a free-flowing river in Portland’s backyard.
The Western Rivers Conservancy, along with American Rivers, Trout Unlimited and many other river and fishing groups, worked together with the owners of the dams, Portland General Electric (PGE), and numerous community groups to come up with a real solution that works. And at the end of the day, PGE made a business decision: the dams no longer made financial sense.
Though definitely not the case for all dams, this situation with the Sandy River is very similar to my home river, the Snake. By taking a collective look at the crisis on the Snake River we can find the opportunities for recovery of salmon and a diverse economy in the Northwest. And at the end of the day, our representatives in the House and Senate, and by extension U.S. taxpayers, can make a business decision on the Lower Snake River that restores salmon, rebuilds jobs, and saves taxpayer dollars. (For more on the dollars and sense of lower Snake dam removal, check out this report, called Revenue Stream.)
All in all it was a great event full of beautiful art, music, and people! It’s been lovely at home but I can’t wait to get back and spread the word on salmon recovery!
Keep on swimming,
Tuesday, July 3, 2007
"Why is there a special section at the fair for the "ecosperience"? Isn't EVERY moment an ecological experience for humans?"
We had to admit that FIN had a good point. She was curious about what other experiences humans had that were outside of the "ecosperience" so we took a short tour of the fair.
FIN was particularly interested in the agricultural section of the fair where the petting zoo is located.
"Why aren't we in the there with the rest of the animals?," asked FIN. (FIN is full of questions).
We explained to FIN that she represents wild salmon, not farmed salmon. FIN remembered having seen farm-raised salmon that had escaped from their net pens in The Pacific Northwest. "They are really out of place", she remembered. "They compete with us for food and spread diseases but mostly they die because they are not suited to life in the wild."
We discussed how farm-raised salmon are as bad for humans as they are for wild salmon. The major points of our conversation are described here.
Recently, Save our Wild Salmon has worked with top chefs from around the country to educate Congress and the public about the differences between wild Pacific salmon and farm-raised salmon. You can read more about that work (including a letter the Chef's sent to Congress) here.
By the end of our little trip, FIN was glad to be back educating kids at the Ecosperience and hanging out with our friends from SPAWN. FIN was glad to learn that other groups are working locally to protect wild salmon and she was really interested to hear about the endangered coho salmon and steelhead that SPAWN works to protect in Marin County's Lagunitas and San Geronimo Creeks.
Tomorrow we are off to a parade in Woodacre, CA.
"What's a parade?," FIN asked (still with the questions!).
We explained that a parade is kind of like a school of fish, except that there are usually no fish and lots of human children.
FIN is totally psyched to be in a parade!
And then, at noon Fin went live on the CBS weather report in S.F., as KPIX Weather Anchor Roberta Gonzalez delivered today's report with her head sticking out of Fin's mouth. I guess you could call it baiting a reporter! Check it out!
Seriously, the Bay Area is turning out to be an incredible start to this 5-week journey. And we still have ahead of us tomorrow's 4th of July parade and then two days at SF's Aquarium by the Bay.
One person we must thank is Paola Bouley, a Watershed Biologist with SPAWN (The Salmon Protection and Watershed Network). Paola helped set-up our Marin activities, and is part of an exceptional watershed protection group in this area.
Please enjoy this short conversation with Paola. And stay tuned for more action from the roadshow.
Monday, July 2, 2007
Raggs kids' show mascots rub elbows with Fin at Oakland Zoo
What better place to bring our lovely spokesfish on a perfect day in the bay than the Oakland Zoo, an organization dedicated to species preservation? We rolled in bright and early, and were positioned in their educational exhibit space.
We spent the day talking to many families who love serving and eating salmon and were interested to learn about the plight of their favorite food. Many were surprised that we were not against fishing and eating salmon, and we found ourselves explaining again and again how important this aspect of the campaign is to the long term survival of salmon. They are always shocked to learn how many more salmon are taken by the dams every year as compared to commercial, sport and recreational fishing.
At one point in the afternoon Fin was visited by the actors in the hit children's television show Ragg's. The actors, all in their colorful costumes, took turns dancing around Fin, and rubbing their bellies at the thought of eating delicious wild Salmon.
The signatures we have collected for our petition continue to grow by the day, and the word of our tour is spreading as well. We were visited by a large Chinese language newspaper and also got Fin's picture on the front of the Metro section of the Oakland Tribune. We will be sure to get those articles up as soon as we can.
Tomorrow we will be at a Congressional Field hearing on the plight of the local Delta Smelt in Vallejo, CA. So, as always, stay tuned to the blog for exciting developments.
- The Road Show Crew
Sunday, July 1, 2007
Today FIN cozied up to the Hudson Fish stand at the Berkeley Farmer's market. Captain Mike Hudson and his family sell their catch every Saturday at the Farmer's market. Mike lives in Berkeley and fishes off the coast of San Francisco, Marin, and Sonoma. When he has salmon, it goes fast. But, Hudson Fish didn't have salmon this week because the California salmon season was closed during June. Mike was excited to go salmon fishing tomorrow (July 1). If he catches salmon, his customers will be happy next week. This week, he sent the salmon-lovers to see FIN so they could learn about why the fishing seasons here keep getting shorter.
Asked about how she felt being so close to a fisherman, FIN responded:
"As salmon remember a time when the people of the Pacific coast prayed for our safe return from the ocean and celebrated our annual spawning runs. In return, some of us gave their bodies to sustain the people. This was the way of things and it was good.
We know the fishermen and their customers care for us and we appreciate their efforts to protect our spawning grounds. We continue to support them and they continue to support us.
Unfortunately, neither of our communities is as strong today as we have been in the past. We need to get the message to other humans, who don't know about the old agreements, that the rivers and creeks must be protected in order to support salmon so that we can support people."
- The Road Show Crew