Tuesday, January 31, 2012

Sea Change for Port of Lewiston?

by Pat Ford, Executive Director and Sam Mace, Inland Northwest Director

A recent article in the Lewiston Tribune reveals that the waterway component of the Port of Lewiston – that part which relies on the lower Snake River dams – is in a decline that will be difficult to reverse. Waterway shipping of staple farm products and other goods is declining. This is mainly (but not totally) because the Port of Tacoma – to which products must be trucked or railed – is increasingly preferred by ocean shippers and customers to the Port of Portland, due to differences in the ease and cost of big boats getting to each.

This helps to explain the intensity with which the Port of Lewiston pursued Exxon’s tar sands mega-loads, despite the harm done to many of its neighbors upriver along Highway 12. The work of tribes, cities, businesses, and conservationists to stop those shipments appears to have paid off, however. Exxon has apparently taken the lower Snake waterway out of its plans, which is a good thing for Idaho and Montana, but a hard blow to the Port’s search for new waterway business.

The waterway’s other main problem looking forward is that maintenance and repair of the aging navigation facilities on the lower Snake, in a time of Congressional austerity, doesn’t make the cut in the Army Corps of Engineers’ numerical rating test that identifies priority projects. The two problems are related: declining use further hurts the rating.

But there is a further aspect that we who support removing the lower Snake dams see clearly. The lower Snake waterway and the Port of Lewiston are not identical. The Port also has trucking and rail functions, and those are stable or growing. We are told more of the Port’s business activity and employment now occurs in these two functions than in the waterway.

The Port of Lewiston and the people it serves and benefits can have a healthy future without the lower Snake waterway. Save Our wild Salmon supports that better future for the Port, and effective, affordable farm-to-market transportation for growers in eastern Washington and north-central Idaho. The lower Snake waterway is not essential to either, as real-world economics are confirming.

(There is further information about the Port and waterway on Bert Bowler’s salmon website: snakeriversalmonsolutions.org. Click on “transportation” in the left menu.)

Tuesday, January 24, 2012

Mascot Love at Outdoor Retailer

by Bobby Hayden, National Rep @ Save Our Wild Salmon

Allie Bombach (L) and Sarah Menzies (R) of Red Reel video with Buster, Big Foot, Ice-P
What an awesome couple of days!

They love each other.
Gilly Lyons and I had some great meetings and check-ins at Outdoor Retailer Winter Market with some of our longtime friends at KEEN, Patagonia, Osprey Packs, Granite Gear, Petzl, Kelty, Black Diamond, Ruff Wear, Under Solen Media and many more! Also built on some new connections with Cloudveil, GSI Outdoors, Wilderness Press and others.

The Saturday happy hour hosted by Osprey Packs was a blast! It was great to hang with the Osprey folks along with the Alaska Wilderness League and Leave No Trace. Special thanks to Osprey, Timmy O'Neill and Red Reel Video for their help!  Stay tuned for an awesome video of mascots Buster, Bigfoot, and Ice-P from Red Reel in a few weeks.

Also special thanks to fearless big mountain backcountry skier Mark Kogelmann and his awesome dog Marlowe for opening their home to us and our gear.

Your moment of zen provided by Captain and Tennille:

Wednesday, January 18, 2012

Osprey Packs to host Buster, Ice-P, Bigfoot, and Timmy O'Neil at Outdoor Retailer

Our dear friends at Osprey Packs are hosting an awesome party to benefit Save Our Wild Salmon, Alaska Wilderness League, and Leave No Trace at this year's Outdoor Retailer Winter Market.

More about the party from Osprey:

"Enjoy a White Russian and keep the glass. Meet the girls in white dresses, boys in tutus and environmental mascots. Donate to Leave No Trace, Alaska Wilderness League and Save our Wild Salmon and win great prize packages."

And by mascots, they mean our very own Buster the Wild Snake River Sockeye Salmon, Ice-P the savvy spokesbear for the Alaska Wilderness League, and Bigfoot who lives the dream with Leave No Trace.  Of course there's also Timmy O'Neill, adventurer, comedian, drummer, super salmon friend and mascot to the world, who will be MC'ing the event.

Check out the cool flyer:

We're excited to ring in the new year with all of our allies in the Outdoor Retailer community!

If you happen to be in Salt Lake City this week, please stop on by.
We'll be live tweeting from the event - follow @savewildsalmon and #ORShow

“What Are YOU Wearing Today?” Happy Hour
When: 4 to 6pm, Saturday January 21, 2012
Where: Osprey Booth #5011 at the Salt Palace Convention Center in SLC

Thursday, January 12, 2012

Outside Sees Momentum for Dam Removal in 2012

Outside Magazine is as encouraged by recent dam removal projects in the Pacific Northwest as we are. Citing the recent river restoration projects on the Elwha and White Salmon Rivers, they list the four Lower Snake River dams as number six for their 2012 Editor’s Choice feature. The feature covers the editors “outdoor pleasures” and is “a mix of the good and the guilty- so we made a list.”

Pick of your copy of Outside’s February 2012 issue at news stands today! Or check out some of the other featured items at the website: http://www.outsideonline.com/outdoor-adventure/This-We-Like.html

Thank you Outside Magazine for adding your voice to the ever-growing list of supporters for true wild salmon and steelhead restoration in the Columbia and Snake River basins.

Curious what you can do to help save wild salmon? CLICK HERE

Tuesday, January 10, 2012

Patagonia’s Salmon Super Heroes

Yvon Chouinard, president and founder of Patagonia, has long been a champion for salmon and a proud advocate for removing dams, including the four lower Snake River dams. Understanding that salmon restoration is as much an economic consideration as a conservation one, Patagonia was one of the nearly 1,200 signers on the “Salmon Mean Business” letter sent to President Obama last August. Chouinard and his team at Patagonia are true salmon super heroes.

This month, we were thrilled to see that Chouinard chose to feature dam removal in Patagonia’s Mountain 2012 catalog. In the essay titled “Dammed if we don’t” (p. 18), Chouinard reflects on his love of wild rivers, and the need to remove the four lower Snake River dams in order to restore wild Pacific salmon populations:

“Four crucial dams to take out if we wish to restore wild Pacific salmon are on the lower Snake River – a tributary to the Columbia River and one of our planet’s mightiest salmon producers. Every fisheries biologist not in the pocket of the Bonneville Power Administration agrees that the dams must come down. But the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration and state and local governments in the area lack backbone and refuse to act on good science…”

Read the full essay.

Last September, Chouinard also attended the festivities in Port Angeles, Washington to celebrate the commencement of the Elwha River Restoration Project (which includes one of the largest dam removal projects in US history, now well under way). We were lucky to be invited to participate in a presentation with Chouinard at the annual Elwha River Science Symposium as featured guests. SOS Inland Northwest Director Sam Mace spoke about the need for a new approach to salmon policy on the Columbia/Snake; her comments connecting the Elwha River to the Snake River, and a few closing thoughts from Chouinard, are included in this short video:

Huge thanks to Patagonia!

Friday, January 6, 2012

Salmon…and bikinis?

by Amy Baird, SOS communications director

“Statistics are like a bikini. What they reveal is suggestive, but what they conceal is vital.” – Aaron Levenstein

I talk to a lot of people everyday about wild salmon restoration efforts on the Columbia and Snake Rivers here in the Pacific Northwest. Those people vary from elected leaders, to young entrepreneurs, to activists, to the friendly guy who runs the coffee shop up the street. I talk to a lot of committed conservationists, fish biologists, and even those who know little to nothing about salmon except how delicious they taste. It’s a subject with a complex history and political nuances that dwarfs even presidential campaigns. From my vantage point in dealing with business leaders, I realize just how much I take for granted the direct connection between a healthy environment and a healthy economy.

That said, polling conducted over the last couple of decades reflects a need to increase public education about this issue. At a time when our economy is still struggling, unemployment still stubbornly high, and a living wage difficult to come by, recognizing that salmon restoration creates jobs is critical. Our environment and economy are very much tied to each other, not at odds. We can indeed restore salmon and create jobs via innovation in the transportation sector, development in renewable energy, increases in energy efficiency, and increasing access to fish that thousands of Northwest businesses, families, and communities are reliant upon.

Recent polling conducted by Earthfix/DHM reflects the need to provide information on the economics behind environmental protection. Many of the questions in the survey implied a contrast or even opposition between the economy and the environment, when we know the opposite is true (just look at the Sandy or Elwha River restoration projects). Survey results are entirely dependent on how a question is phrased.

At the end of the day, polling like this really reinforces why we need a new approach to salmon restoration on the Columbia/Snake Rivers. A collaborative process that addresses the science and economics behind salmon restoration and addresses the needs of ALL the stakeholders involved is possible, and has worked on other tough conflicts in which the environment and economy are closely intertwined. It’s time to make both our jobs, and our environment, our priority. Join me in asking our elected leaders to convene a solutions table for salmon: TAKE ACTION