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!

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