Thursday, April 9, 2009

We need Obama to bring change to the Columbia-Snake!

The salmon collapse on the Sacramento and San Joaquin rivers have again rocked coastal fishing communities. The Columbia-Snake has been there before and the Sacramento just 5 years ago was the crutch holding up Pacific salmon fishing communities. While Columbia-Snake river salmon populations have slightly improved this year, we are nowhere near recovery. In fact, the only reason we have a season at all is because fishing and conservation groups fought to have in-river protections in place for juvenile salmon in 2005 and 2006.

The Pacific salmon community is united in this effort because in the end, the long-term abundance of these fish depends on the recovery of all three of the Lower 48's signature salmon rivers.

Right now, the Columbia-Snake is hanging in there, but as I write this blog post, NMFS's Biological Opinion sits in front of U.S. District Court Judge Redden in Portland. Judge Redden has thrown out two prior plans. This BiOp is largely the same as past, failed plans and rolls back all of the protections that are in place and we risk losing the small amount of progress we have made.

What is happening on the Sacramento-San Joaquin is because of an incredible lack of foresight. We have the opportunity now to take this lesson and move toward a solid recovery plan for all three major salmon rivers. The Sacramento-San Joaquin and the Lower Snake River rounded out the top three or America's Most Endangered Rivers just days ago. While this crisis is unfortunately nothing new, we do have a brand new opportunity with the Obama administration.

We have a momentous opportunity, but the window is rapidly closing and we need to act now. Please click here to call on President Obama to step in and lead!

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