Thursday, June 9, 2011

Seattle’s Burke Museum runs "Gauntlet"

Save Our Wild Salmon, Earthjustice and KCTS 9 hosted a very special evening – and a full house at the Burke Museum’s main floor - last night with delicious food, a provocative book and film, and engaging Q and A between the audience and panel of three experts.

The evening started Northwest style – enjoying Jensen’s Smokehouse king salmon prepared by Anthony Polizzi and his team from the Steelhead Diner and washed down by the Fremont Brewing Company’s Pale Ale. The food and grog was superb, and an excellent reminder for us all about one of the important contributions that salmon make to our region and nation – delicious, nutritious food. 
BIG THANKS to Jensen’s Smokehouse, Steelhead Diner, and Fremont Brewing for their generous contributions to a wonderful evening.

The program started off with author Steve Hawley reading from his just-released book about Columbia Basin salmon – Recovering a Lost River: Removing Dams, Rewilding Salmon, and Revitalizing Communities. He focused on a chapter about Puget Sound orcas, and how their fate hinges on how we as a region and nation decide to address the steep decline of chinook salmon stocks in the Columbia Basin. Our orcas are literally starving to death. The future of Puget Sound orca depends on significantly rebuilding Pacific Northwest chinook populations and the Columbia and Snake Rivers represent our greatest opportunity to do that. Lower Snake River dam removal, it turns out, is central to at least two endangered species - salmon and orcas.

Filmmaker Jim Norton introduced his film as an exploration into the degree to which we have damaged what was once the most productive salmon landscape on the planet, and the misguided and ultimately ineffective lengths that we have gone to techno-fix salmon back to abundance. The film suggests that a new approach is long overdue. All the evidence tells us this needed, but we haven’t quite (yet!) turned the corner to make it happen.

A Q and A session followed with Steve H, Jim N, and Steve Mashuda – an attorney for Earthjustice – fielding questions about the status of the litigation in front of Judge Redden, the impending Elwha dam(s) removal, the four lower Snake River dams, pollution, and tribal involvement, among others.

We finished up with a drawing for outdoor gear that was generously donated by the Patagonia store here in Seattle: two nano jackets and fishing waders! Very cool!

In addition to the businesses and organizations mentioned above, I want to express our deep gratitude to the following for their support for this evening:

A good evening all the way around!
- JB

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