Wednesday, April 27, 2011

Wild Salmon at Risk - May 4th in Spokane

A Filmmaker and Writer Share the Latest on Columbia-Snake Salmon and Steelhead

Join us in Spokane, WA for a special screening of Jim Norton's PBS Nature documentary Salmon: Running the Gauntlet with Steven Hawley, author of Recovering a Lost River: Removing Dams, Rewilding Salmon, Revitalizing Communities..

Preview Salmon: Running the Gauntlet here.
Read more about Steven Hawley's book, Recovering a Lost River.

When: Wednesday, May 4th, 2011 - 7 pm
Where: Caterina Winery - 905 N Washington Street - Spokane WA
Additional info: contact Sam Mace at 509-747-2030 or
Cost? Event is FREE and open to the public, but RSVPs appreciated. RSVP on Facebook here or contact Sam the information above.

Both Norton and Hawley will be in attendance to update us on the current state of wild salmon in the Columbia and Snake Rivers at this free community event and discuss what's really at stake. And yes, we'll have copies of Hawley's book available for purchase!

Special thanks to our sponsors:
Aunties' Books, The Whole Plate and Save Our Wild Salmon Coalition

Monday, April 25, 2011

SOS Actions - Week of April 25th

1) Is Your Member of Congress a Salmon Champ?
2) Tell Congressman DeFazio to change his position on NW salmon recovery.
3) Host a Watch Party! - Salmon: Running the Gauntlet premieres this Sunday on PBS.

1) Is Your Member of Congress a Salmon Champ?

Americans deserve real solutions to the crisis facing endangered wild salmon and steelhead in the Pacific Northwest’s Columbia-Snake River Basin. Congress has an enormous opportunity to help recover wild salmon and steelhead in this region – once the largest salmon watershed in the world – while creating new living-wage jobs and building a clean energy future.

Your representative can be a champion for salmon and salmon-dependent communities in the 112th Congress. Urge her/him to support legislation that gives imperiled salmon a shot at recovery – while also protecting communities, regional economies, and American taxpayers. Columbia-Snake wild salmon are among the most resilient, determined creatures on earth, but today they hover at 1% of their historic numbers. These fish need all the help they can get, starting in Washington, DC.

Take Action Here.


2) Tell Congressman DeFazio to change his position on Columbia-Snake salmon recovery

Congressman DeFazio is at it again.  And we wish that was a good thing, but it's not.

Congressman DeFazio has long been a leader on natural resource issues representing Oregon's 4th Congressional District.  As a senior member of both the House Natural Resources Committee and the Transportation and Infrastructure Committee, he could play an important role in bringing about lasting recovery of wild salmon in the Snake River Basin and the communities that depend on them.

But over the last several years, Congressman DeFazio has chosen to support federal agency failures in the Columbia-Snake Basin instead of making a break with the past to embrace a broader set of solutions that can help recover salmon, invest in clean energy, protect communities, and restore our economy.  He has actively worked in Congress to limit the progress of a key studies bill for Snake River salmon and communities. DeFazio has also - again - weighed in negatively for Columbia-Snake salmon.

Read a recent oped piece in the Eugene Weekly on DeFazio's role in the salmon crisis.

Send a message to Congressman DeFazio here.

You can also give Congressman DeFazio's office a call: 202.225.6416
Ask Rep. DeFazio to change course and support an all-options approach to wild salmon and steelhead recovery in the Columbia and Snake Rivers. 

3) Host a Watch Party! - Salmon: Running the Gauntlet premieres this Sunday on PBS. 

What are you doing next Sunday, May 1st?
We are encouraging folks across the country to organize watch parties with friends and family on May 1st to view the premiere of Salmon: Running the Gauntlet at 8pm on PBS (check local listings).

Salmon: Running the Gauntlet takes critical look at the extraordinary efforts to save Columbia and Snake River salmon. Check out the preview below...
Nature - PBS - clip
Going beyond the debate over how to save an endangered species, Nature takes a timely look at the Columbia-Snake salmon crisis in Salmon: Running the Gauntlet from filmmaker Jim Norton. The story of salmon is one of the nature stories of our time – how we became entangled in the life of creatures at once resilient and fragile, manipulated and wild, and whether they, and we, might recover from that intrusion. After broadcast, the program will stream at

Salmon: Running the Gauntlet airs Sunday, May 1, 2011 at 8:00 p.m. ET/PT. Check your local listings.
Are you setting up a watch party?  If so, let me know:

More information here:

Enjoy the show!

Thursday, April 21, 2011

Smoked Salmon and Superb Support at Washington, DC Reception and Film Screening

Last Tuesday, April 12, 2011 Save Our Wild Salmon sponsored a cocktail reception and screening of the documentary short film “The Greatest Migration” on Capitol Hill. The film features the miraculous story of high-altitude Snake River salmon and the race to save them. Joining us were more than 150 House and Senate staff, supporting conservation and fishing organizations, and others to enjoy some great dialogue regarding the future of these iconic fish while appreciating some delicious smoked wild salmon from Jensen’s Smokehouse.

With stellar attendance, this event couldn’t have gone better and we were overwhelmed by the vocal support we received from so many staffers. One staffer even enthusiastically let us know that, “This is the only reception I come to all year.” Aw, thanks!

Unfortunately, due to an unanticipated caucus meeting, our congressional champions were unable to personally attend. However, Melanie Rhinehart VanTassell, legislative director for Rep. Mike Thompson (D-CA), made a statement on the Congressman’s behalf. She referenced the Wild Salmon Caucus, of which Thompson is a co-chair, and connected the Columbia-Snake River to other West Coast salmon watersheds that are also struggling to recover healthy salmon stocks.

While one of the primary functions of the reception was to screen "The Greatest Migration," it was also a wonderful opportunity to remind our DC-based colleagues and supporters of why salmon are so critically important, and about some of the very serious threats they are currently facing.

Many thanks to our organizers and to our event co-sponsors:
American Rivers, Defenders of Wildlife, Earthjustice, Endangered Species Coalition, Idaho Rivers United, Northwest Sportfishing Industry Association, NW Energy Coalition, Pacific Coast Federation of Fishermen’s Associations, Sierra Club, and Trout Unlimited.

And a huge thank you to our honorary co-hosts, Congressmen Jim McDermott, Mike Thompson, and Raul Grijalva.

Wednesday, April 20, 2011

Sneak Preview of PBS Nature Salmon: Running the Gauntlet in PDX April 27

Join OPB and filmmaker Jim Norton for a screening and panel discussion of the NATURE program Salmon: Running the Gauntlet. 

NATURE goes beyond the ongoing debate over how to save an endangered species to expose a wildly creative, hopelessly complex and stunningly expensive approach to managing salmon.

WHEN: Wednesday, April 27 at 7:30pm (Doors open at 6:30pm)

WHERE: Mission Theater & Pub, 1624 NW Glisan St., Portland

COST: Free! 

If you can’t attend the preview screening, you can watch the program on PBS Nature on Sunday, May 1 at 8pm. Check local listings.

Tuesday, April 19, 2011

Salmon: Running the Gauntlet Premieres May 1 on PBS's Nature

A critical look at the extraordinary efforts to save Pacific Northwest salmon...
Going beyond the debate over how to save an endangered species, Nature takes a timely look at the salmon crisis in Salmon: Running the Gauntlet on Sunday, May 1, 2001 at 8:00 p.m. on PBS's Nature. The story of salmon is one of the nature stories of our time – how we became entangled in the life of creatures at once resilient and fragile, manipulated and wild, and whether they, and we, might recover from that intrusion. After broadcast, the program will stream at
Airs Sunday, May 1, 2011 at 8:00 p.m. ET/PT. Check your local listings.

Watch the full episode. See more Nature.

We Get Wild at Wild Salmon Rising

200+ people, $1,500+ raised, 5 filets of wild salmon eaten, 3 kegs tapped, 2 cases of wine drowned... that's what we call a salmon party.

Thanks to everyone who came out last week to Wild Salmon Rising. We had a great time screening Eastern Rises and The Greatest Migration, as well as a last minute entry of the Kamchatka Steelhead Project.

Missed out on all the salmon action? Here are some of our favorite party photos for your enjoyment. More can be found on our Flickr page.

If you're interested in showing The Greatest Migration in your neck of the woods, contact bobby[at]wildsalmon[dot]org.

A big thanks to our partners on the party Wild Salmon Center and Under Solen Media as well as our sponsors: Widmer, Osprey Packs, Patagonia, Idylwilde Flies, Rio Products, Sage and Klean Kanteen.

Wenatchee World: Salmon are still too few

Buzz Ramsey (left) and Ron Richards

By Buzz Ramsey and Ron Richards

"We in the commercial and sport fishing industry don’t buy in to the argument that everything is just fine and we should all just go home. We are the ones still out there on the rivers and the ocean trying to make a living. Regardless of what the federal court decides, we are going to continue to work for a better plan for Columbia and Snake River salmon. Our families, our livelihoods and our communities depend on it."

Read more over at the Wenatchee World. 

Both Ron Richards and Buzz Ramsey support a Working Snake River.
Learn more at

Monday, April 18, 2011

Congratulations to West Salem High School

Save Our Wild Salmon is thrilled to congratulate the West Salem High School in Salem, Oregon as the grand prize winner of the Samsung Solve for Tomorrow contest. The contest asks selected 6th- 12th grade teachers to create videos with their students to answer the question: “How can science or math help improve the environment in your community?”

The West Salem High School students chose to create their video submission depicting their concern about the impact hydroelectric dams are having on salmon fisheries in the Columbia River, and how solar and wind power could replace hydroelectric energy.

The students were able to demonstrate using science and math that there are alternatives to dams as an energy source that can be implemented to help salmon.

States the video, “At our school, we want to save the salmon by promoting eco-friendly energy sources.”

West Salem High School was announced as the grand prize winner at the event hosted by 9 time Grammy Award Winner, John Legend, at the Samsung Experience in New York City. The winning school was honored with $155,000 in technology prizes from Samsung, Microsoft, DIRECTV and the Adobe Foundation during the ceremony.

Congratulations, West Salem High School, for this tremendous achievement and for focusing your project on helping to save wild salmon!

CLICK HERE to watch the award-winning video...

Thursday, April 14, 2011

Spill is Good for Both Endangered Salmon and the Wind Power Industry

In its ongoing attempt to reduce water spill levels in the Columbia and Snake Rivers, Bonneville Power Administration (BPA) is now attempting to use salmon as an excuse to shut off wind energy production in the region when flow levels are too high. BPA is claiming legal constraints for salmon and over-generation of wind and hydropower will force the agency to turn off wind power production but keep producing hydropower. Such a policy would undermine renewable energy generation and be harmful to salmon.

While over-generation situations do occur, the supposed legal constraints on BPA are largely self-created and self-imposed. The salmon aren’t forcing BPA to order reduced spill and thus more hydro production at the expense of wind generation; it’s the total dissolved gas (TDG) limits for the Columbia and Snake Rivers. Currently, BPA follows Washington State’s spill standard, which allows a dissolved gas level of 115%. If Washington adopted and federal agencies implemented Oregon’s standard, maximum dissolved gas levels would increase to 120%. This shift could allow more spill and avoid curtailing wind energy. It also would benefit salmon and steelhead by easing their migration past these dams.

BPA recently evaluated how much more wind energy might be available if the dissolved gas standard were increased. It did its analysis in response to SOS calculations of how many TDG exceedences might be avoided in a given month if the Oregon standard were followed. A new analysis from the Fish Passage Center (FPC), which provides current and historic data on salmon and steelhead travel in the Columbia and Snake Rivers, backs up the SOS findings and reveals an opportunity for significantly increasing spill in the Columbia-Snake.

The SOS, BPA, and FPC analyses all lead to the same basic conclusion: adhering to the 120% Oregon standard for TDG is better for salmon and would allow more wind energy on the regional system. Despite these benefits, BPA has decided not to pursue this additional spill, claiming the economic benefits are minimal and not worth the biological risks to salmon from too much TDG in the water. Bonneville ignores the clear science showing that the TDG levels at issue here would not harm migrating salmon.

Instead of science, politics is driving this decision. Politics should not stand in the way of what is good for both salmon and the wind industry. The Northwest Power and Conservation Act requires BPA to protect and restore salmon in the region while supporting renewable energy development to meet our new power needs. Increasing the dissolved gas standard to 120% would accommodate both salmon survival and wind energy production.

We believe it’s time for BPA to stop circumventing its responsibilities to the salmon and renewable energy communities. BPA should act like the federal agency it is and help the region reach our shared goals of healthy salmon populations and a clean energy future, rather than focusing solely on increased hydropower sales.

Salmon protection and survival in the Columbia-Snake Basin are linked with wind power, not in conflict with it. We in the Northwest can have both a truly clean energy future and wild rivers teeming with wild salmon.

Wednesday, April 13, 2011

The Greatest Migration @ the UO Longhouse

Derek Kimbol introduces the film and talks about his heritage. 

We had a great crowd last Wednesday in Eugene for the screening of the Greatest Migration at the Many Nations Longhouse on the campus of the University of Oregon.  This event was hosted jointly by the UO Outdoor Program, the Native American Student Union and Save Our Wild Salmon.

Derek Kimbol, one of our interns from the UO, kicked off the event, we watched the film, Bobby from SOS helped lead a really great Q & A session, and later we watched another film: Celilo Falls and the Remaking of the Columbia River. 

Bobby from SOS answers some good questions from the crowd.

This event would not have been possible without Derek, Delia Sanchez, the UO Outdoor Program, and the Native American Student Union for pulling everything together. THANK YOU!

Several cast members from the upcoming play Salmon is Everything came to the event as well.  If you are in Eugene May 20 - June 4, you should definitely check out this play.  SOS will be tabling there as well.

Please stay tuned for more awesome events in Eugene very soon.

Monday, April 11, 2011

CONFIRMED: Fish Like Water!

Federal agencies commit to ‘spill’ water over dams to help salmon and steelhead during their spring migration this year. But despite scientific support, the government does not make spill a guaranteed, permanent part of the federal salmon plan. 

Out-migrating juvenile Columbia and Snake River salmon and steelhead will get a much-needed boost this spring - thanks to the successful advocacy of the Nez Perce Tribe and the State of Oregon to retain court-ordered levels of water spilled over federal dams during the 2011 spring salmon migration. 

Listen to the Public News Service story here. 
Read the press release from the Save Our Wild Salmon Coalition.  

“Spill” has been a key reason for recently improved salmon returns, although numbers are still far below levels needed to sustain healthy salmon populations. Federal dam agencies announced last month that they would provide spill this spring that gets closer to the levels ordered by U.S. District Court Judge James Redden for the last five years.

Earlier in the year, the dam agencies once again sought to cut back court-ordered spill in favor of generating additional hydropower this spring.  Oregon and the Nez Perce Tribe led the effort among federal, state, and tribal salmon managers to retain prior spill levels.

“We are thankful that the Nez Perce and Oregon stood up to federal pressure to reduce water spilled past the dams to protect salmon,” said Liz Hamilton of the Northwest Sportfishing Industry Association (NSIA).  “What we’ve learned in the last five years is that more spill means more salmon, which means more jobs.”

“For the sixth straight year, water spilled over the federal dams in spring when young salmon are migrating to the ocean will mean higher salmon survival, higher salmon returns, more fishing and more jobs in our coastal communities,” said Joel Kawahara, board member of the Washington Trollers Association.  “Judge Redden first required spring spill for the 2006 migration season, and every year since, his oversight has led the federal government to keep providing it – even though every year, they have looked for ways to reduce spill in order to make more money from generating electricity.”

This decision means that – at least for Spring 2011 – about half of the young Columbia Basin salmon heading to the ocean will travel there in the river, rather than being vacuumed out of the river and barged around the dams.  Prior to 2006, up to 90% of baby salmon were routinely removed from the river and barged by the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers, interrupting their natural migration and compromising their survival.

For years, salmon advocates have asked the federal government to make spill a permanent, guaranteed part of the federal plan. The Obama Administration’s 2010 Plan curtails spill from court-ordered levels, and allows the federal agencies to halt spill during key times of the migration in the spring and summer.

“The science is clear: salmon do better when the river runs more like a river,” said Glen Spain of the Pacific Coast Federation of Fisherman’s Associations (PCFFA).  “We shouldn’t have to fight for spill every year. Salmon and west coast fishing economies deserve reliable protections guided by the best science – and that means continued and increased spill in the spring and summer months."

Wednesday, April 6, 2011

Please Join Special Guests Congressmen Jim McDermott, Raúl Grijalva and Mike Thompson for a Celebration of Wild Salmon

You are cordially invited to a cocktail reception celebrating Northwest wild salmon

and the communities, jobs, and people they support.

Please join us on April 12 at 6:00 p.m. as we…

Support wild salmon and salmon-based communities;

View a beautiful short film, “The Greatest Migration,” about Snake River salmon and their remarkable journey from Southeast Alaska to the mountain streams of Central Idaho;


Enjoy delicious wild-caught smoked salmon from the West Coast and Alaska, accompanied by some of the Northwest's tastiest wines and microbrews.

When: Tuesday, April 12, 2011 – 6:00 p.m. to 7:30 p.m.

Where: HVC-201 (in the Capitol Visitor Center) – 1st Street, NE, Washington, D.C.

Questions & RSVPs: Please contact Susan Holmes at or (202) 329-1553

Sponsored by:

American Rivers • Defenders of Wildlife • Earthjustice • Endangered Species Coalition • Idaho Rivers United • Northwest Sportfishing Industry Association • NW Energy Coalition • Pacific Coast Federation of Fishermen’s Associations • Save Our Wild Salmon • Sierra Club • Trout Unlimited