Monday, January 31, 2011

Fwd: Innovation, Investment? Look No Further...

reposted from Osprey Steelhead News 

In Tuesday night's state of the union speech, wild salmon became a part of the national discussion when President Obama used fisheries management as an example of bureaucratic redundancy in the federal government joking, "I hear it gets even more complicated when they're smoked". The reference has proven to be a popular launching point for advocates of wild salmon who say that the president lacks the necessary understanding of salmon's complex biological, social and economic role in the Pacific Northwest. Perhaps more significant than the off hand reference to salmon was the presidents emphasis on the importance of innovation and investment in clean energy and transportation, and how smart government spending can tap the potential of the American economy in the 21st century.

Read more over at Osprey Steelhead News.  

Wednesday, January 26, 2011

Smoked or Soon to Be Extinct?

“The President’s joke suggested that the problem on salmon recovery efforts is that there are too many agencies in the kitchen, but the real problem is that the Obama salmon plan is half-baked.” - Nicole Cordan, Policy & Legal Director for SOS

For Immediate Release: January 26, 2011

Jim Martin, retired chief of fisheries, Oregon Dept of Fish and Wildlife: (503) 704-9651
Zeke Grader, Pacific Coast Federation of Fishermen’s Associations: (415) 606-5140
Nicole Cordan, Save Our Wild Salmon: (503) 703-3733

Portland, OR – In last night’s State of the Union address, President Obama called for improving government efficiency by streamlining the work of federal agencies.  One of the examples he cited was the overlapping jurisdictions of agencies responsible for salmon management: “Then there’s my favorite example: the Interior Department is in charge of salmon while they’re in fresh water, but the Commerce Department handles them when they’re in saltwater. And I hear it gets even more complicated once they’re smoked.”

While salmon advocates and fishermen across the nation quietly noted that the Commerce Department actually has primary responsibility for salmon management, they loudly cheered the inclusion of salmon in the President’s speech – a rare mention of one of America’s most beloved creatures in an address watched by tens of millions.  But by focusing on agency jurisdiction, sport and commercial fishermen say that President Obama failed to identify the real source of government inefficiency: politics trumping science in salmon management and recovery. 

“Setting aside the question of how agencies divvy up their salmon responsibilities, the President was right that there is something broken in his administration’s salmon protection efforts,” said Jim Martin, retired chief of fisheries, Oregon Department of Fish and Wildlife.  “But the number of agencies involved is not the issue.  The real issue – the real inefficiency – is that President Obama’s agencies have put politics before salmon science, and that’s costing us jobs.”

“Ignoring salmon science is itself inefficient, and will continue to waste taxpayer money, squander fishing jobs, and ultimately destroy a national treasure,” said Zeke Grader, executive director of the Pacific Coast Federation of Fishermen’s Associations.  “But thankfully there’s still time for the administration to get this one right: salmon policy guided by the best science can create good jobs, protect an invaluable resource, and invest federal dollars wisely – all at the same time.  Now that’s what I call efficient.”

“The President’s joke suggested that the problem on salmon recovery efforts is that there are too many agencies in the kitchen, but the real problem is that the Obama salmon plan is half-baked,” said Nicole Cordan, Policy and Legal Director, Save Our wild Salmon Coalition.  “It relies on past policies instead of looking to the future, and it allows politics and not science to rule it decisions.”

Salmon advocates up and down the Pacific Coast and across the country are urging President Obama to keep salmon recovery at the top of his to-do list in the coming year, but to turn his attention where it’s truly needed: science-driven salmon restoration efforts that protect fish, create jobs, safeguard communities, and save money.

Tuesday, January 25, 2011

Salmon in State of the Union

The President
"We live and do business in the information age, but the last major reorganization of the government happened in the age of black and white TV. There are twelve different agencies that deal with exports. There are at least five different entities that deal with housing policy.  

"Then there's my favorite example: the Interior Department is in charge of salmon while they're in fresh water, but the Commerce Department handles them in when they're in saltwater. And I hear it gets even more complicated once they're smoked."

- from President Obama's State of the Union Address, January 25th, 2011.

Very, very interesting.  Tell us more, Mr. President.
What do you have in mind?  Let's discuss!

Take Action.
The Recent Backstory.
The Backstory 2009.

Fly Fishing Shows: Frozen, Friendly

Save Our Wild Salmon's Bobby Hayden escapes from the damp, dark Northwest winter and enters the frozen tundra of New England and the Mid-Atlantic to spread the word of crisis and opportunity in the fight to restore a river, recover salmon (and steelhead!), and rebuild jobs.  After falling only twice in the motel parking lot, the trip was deemed a success.

Bobby with Lou of Housatonic River Outfitters -

For the past two weekends, I was in Marlborough, Massachusetts and Somerset, New Jersey, respectively, for two trade shows organized by The Fly Fishing ShowFounded over 20 years ago by Chuck Furimsky and Barry Serviente, both from my home state of Pennsylvania, the Fly Fishing Show has now grown into a great series of events across the country. See the full 2011 schedule.  

The shows bring together regional and national outfitters, manufacturers, rod makers and other craftsmen and women, fly tyers, guides, lodge owners, fishing  and conservation organizations, casting instructors, fishing legends, and first timers.

In addition to checking in with our long-time supporters in the business community and local chapters of organizations like Trout Unlimited and the Federation of Fly Fishers, the show allows us a chance to introduce our campaign to many new businesses and show attendees. 

Yes, the cold and snow made getting around the area difficult but I'm glad we come here each year.  Where would we be without support from businesses and organizations from across the country? Those were the thoughts running through my head the morning of my second day there. This sentiment was confirmed later by Peter Shilling, past-Council Chair for MA-RI Trout Unlimited, who said, without provocation, "I'm so happy you guys come here every year.  You may not think it helps but it does. It takes time and commitment to build support for a national campaign.  You guys are doing the footwork to make that happen."  Aw-shucks Peter, thanks!

And a HUGE thank you to all the businesses and organizations for their support!  Take a look at some show highlights below:

Marlborough, Massachusetts

FFF Master Certified Casting Instructor Sheila Hasson of
Here's Sheila Hassan of Cast90 at one of her several casting demonstrations in Marlborough.  Sheila and her husband Bill are long-time supporters from Medway, MA.

I am SO jealous!  How often do you get to shake the hand of a true legend?  I wonder if that guy in the middle is as excited as I would be to meet both Congressman Henry Waxman and Congressman Ed Markey!

Okay, so I didn't meet Congressman Markey, representative of MA's 7th district and long-time salmon and clean energy advocate, but I did drop off some postcards for Congressman Markey from the show and met with one of his very nice Congressional Aides, named Joseph McCarthy.  I thanked him for the Congressman's past support of salmon recovery in the Columbia-Snake Basin (such as Markey's co-sponsorship of the Salmon Solutions and Planning Act of 2009 - H.R. 3503) and asked that this leadership continue in the 112th Congress.

Somerset, New Jersey

Ted Upton (left), owner of Cheeky Fly Fishing and his two body guards.  These guys are from Boston and they mean business.

Long-time supporters at Cortland Line Co. out of, yep, Cortland, New York.
Our new friends, Rise Fishing, out of E. Hampton, New York
Here's me doing my best to bug Brian Cowden, NJTU's Musconetcong Home Rivers Initiative Coordinator -

Tom and Karen Markey of Drift Away Outfitters, Hamlin, PA
Casting legend Lefty Kreh, doing his thing.

Lisa Savard and Courtney Major of Lopstick Outfitters, Pittsburg, NH
Jesus and Nautilus Reels take their talents from South Beach.
Browsing the Angling Bookstore.
Jason from Crested Butte Angler gets it.
Boise, Idaho's own Fish Pimp / Innovative Brands.
James Cummins Bookseller out of NYC.  Our E.D., Pat Ford, would love this!
Ken, aka "The Colonial Angler', specializes in the heritage of fly fishing and proves that doing it old school is still cool.
Stay tuned for more this year!

Thursday, January 20, 2011

Connecting With Supporters at Outdoor Retailer

We're excited to be at Outdoor Retailer over the next few days to connect with some of our biggest supporters. The outdoor industry has been great about getting behind our cause, and it's important to thank all the brands that are behind salmon and free-flowing rivers!

And look at that great looking Granite Gear bag that Sam is sporting. Nice!

Monday, January 17, 2011

Talking Dams, Salmon and Free-Flowing Rivers at Wild & Scenic Film Festival

A big thanks to everyone that helped make the premiere of The Greatest Migration a huge success this weekend at Wild & Scenic Environmental Film Festival. We screened the film to several large crowds, and got hundreds of post card signatures. But best of all, we celebrated these one of a kind fish at our Celebrate Wild Salmon party.

With over 200 people, we got a chance to showcase our International League of Conservation Photographers photos from two expeditions to the Snake River Valley this summer. Thanks to everyone who made the event come together: The National Hotel, Sierra Nevada, Patagonia and Osprey Packs.

Our favorite part of the party? Talking fish with Patagonia founder, and huge salmon supporter, Yvon Chouinard. When we thanked him for all of his support of the campaign and these fish he responded, "Oh, I haven't even gotten started."

That's what we like to hear!

Saturday, January 15, 2011

The Greatest Migration Premieres at Wild & Scenic Environmental Film Festival

People in California sure do love letting salmon spawn! Or at least the crowd at Wild & Scenic Environmental Film does.

Last night we premiered The Greatest Migration here in Nevada City, CA. In a room packed with river and wild salmon supporters, we shared the screen with several other great films. Before kicking off the evening, our emcee and ecologist at South Yuba River Citizens League Derek Hitchcock mentioned the importance of the 4-4-2 plan, in reference to removal of the four dams on the Lower Snake River, the four on the Klamath and the two on the Yuba River. "Keystone species like salmon are like the cornerstone of a house. Everything depends on that cornerstone and would crumble without it. On the Snake River, more than 140 species depend on salmon. They are crucial and a when we protect a keystone species ... that species leads us to a better way of living."

In a room of supporters, it's heartening to know that we've got support behind this movement and that we just have to keep fighting!

As Will Shumin, farmer in the San Joaquin Valley and river advocate said, "Water is the most important thing in the world. We can live without oil. We can live without cars. But we can't live without water."
Andy Maser, Nicole Cordan and Trip Jennings answer questions at national premiere The Greatest Migration

We passed out swag, discussed the campaign with supporters and filled out postcards to President Obama. Thanks to everyone for all of your support! We're feeling a lot of Wild & Scenic love.

How can you help? Spread the word! Watch the film, share it with your friends, sign the petition, and keep supporting wild salmon!

We're throwing down tonight at The National Hotel along with the International League of Conservation Photographers, and The Greatest Migration filmmakers, EP Films to celebrate salmon and this excellent film. If you're in the area, come on out! First 50 people get free beer!

The Greatest Migration Teaser from EP Films on Vimeo.

Thursday, January 6, 2011

Snake River Basin Listed Among Top Conservation Priorities

The Endangered Species Coalition released a report today, that spurs us to answer the question: if we are serious about protecting endangered species from climate change where do we begin?

Several esteemed scientists have some ideas…

A panel of scientists identified the top 10 ecosystems to save in a warming world – one of those places is the Snake River Basin – of central Idaho, northeastern Oregon and southeastern Washington. The high-elevation region of snow-covered mountains and ice-cold streams comprises the best salmon spawning habitat left in the lower 48 states.

Alongside places like Greater Yellowstone, the Arctic, and the Hawaiian Islands, the Snake River Basin is key to ensuring that some of our nation’s most imperiled critters make it to the next few decades and beyond.

For endangered species, climate change makes an existence that’s already a struggle even harder. Climate-related threats like increased disease, lost habitat, and reduced food supply add to the challenges that imperiled wildlife must grapple with. This is especially true for coldwater fish, like salmon and steelhead, which are often described as being on the front lines of climate change, as streams and rivers tend to warm faster than surrounding terrestrial areas.

But fortunately there is some good news.

Some habitats out there can serve as refuges in a warming world and help make the difference between extinction and existence for species that are already too close to the edge. That’s the case for the Snake River Basin.

The salmon and steelhead that call the Snake River Basin home are one of a kind. These iconic fish climb higher (almost 7,000 feet in elevation) and swim farther (nearly 1,000 miles inland) to reach their spawning grounds than any other salmon on earth. In doing so, they also carry vital nutrients from the Pacific Ocean inland to ancient forests, rivers, meadows, and about 150 other species – supporting entire ecosystems and food webs. The awesomeness of Snake River salmon is limited only by the obstacles we’ve put in their way – which in this case are large, lethal, concrete obstacles. The four dams on the lower Snake River – make it especially difficult, and in some cases impossible, for salmon and steelhead to reach their high-elevation habitat.

“If we can get these fish back here, to the highest, coldest, and most intact salmon habitat in the continental U.S., they can survive and thrive and feed others, even in the face of climate change,” says retired Idaho fisheries biologist and Snake River salmon expert Don Chapman. “But we need to remove the four dams on the lower Snake River in order to reconnect this special habitat to the salmon that call it home.” 

The Endangered Species Coalition’s report reminds us that there is no time to waste when it comes to protecting the habitats that imperiled wildlife need to survive. For Snake River salmon and steelhead, that means getting them back to the cold mountain streams where they belong… and it means removing the four lower Snake River dams. Do your part. Take ACTION here.

Tuesday, January 4, 2011

Vote for The Great Wild Salmon Run

Our friends at The Great Wild Salmon Run are finalists in the Pepsi Refresh Project. That means they're in the running for $250K in funding for projects throughout the Pacific Northwest.


The regional nonprofit based in Bellevue, WA , was recently notified that their public art project idea “Using the power of art to save the world ~ one Coho at a time," was approved.

The Great Wild Salmon Run could win one of two $250,000 grants from the Pepsi Refresh Project. Voting for the winning project opened at 6:00am ET today and ends midnight January 31.

Pepsi will announce the unique text-to-vote mobile code and provide the Pepsi Refresh Project App for the iPhone and Android. That information will be posted on the Great Wild Salmon Run web site

“We are thrilled to be in the running for this major grant,” Behrens-Benedict said. “The Great Wild Salmon Run is the largest regional philanthropic venture of its kind uniting art and the giving community to save this iconic fish.”

Building on successful animal parades such as the cows in Chicago, the pigs in Seattle and the elephant parade in London among others, the Great Wild Salmon Run will distribute 100 large scale fiberglass salmon sculptures in the cities bordering Lake Washington from Memorial Day 2011 through Labor Day. The original art sculptures will feature world-class artists of all disciplines from poets like Sherman Alexie to wild-life artists like Martin Aveling. After the summer run, the wild salmon sculptures will be auctioned off and the proceeds will go to benefit nonprofit groups working on issues related to protecting wild salmon regionally. This exceptional outdoor public art exhibition is the most visible community-wide public arts event ever held in the Seattle area.

Behrens-Benedict said, “The wild salmon sculptures were designed by Sara Mall Johani and Tom Jay of Chimicum. They are the cornerstone of the Great Wild Salmon Run’s robust educational outreach. Wild salmon are emblematic of the natural beauty and cultural heritage of the Pacific Northwest. We are the beneficiaries of the heroic struggle of birth, life, death and rebirth of this iconic fish. The Great Wild Salmon Run shows how Wild Salmon and the environment connect. What happens to Wild Salmon happens to us. They need everything our children need ~ clean air, fresh cold water, a safe home and good food to eat. When we fight for Wild Salmon, we fight for our future.”

For more information, contact:
Heidi Behrens-Benedict
206-412-0610, 646-862-6059