I think many of you probably know this story:
The consequences of the steep salmon and steelhead declines in the [enter river here] — cultural loss, broad economic harm, diminished quality of life, persistent uncertainty — are not limited to [enter Province or State here] or the [enter watershed] Basin.
This quote is from a letter to two U.S. senators in Washington State from a broad coalition of folks (business owners, fisherfolks, conservationists, and so on). It was forwarded to me from folks south of the border working on Columbia River (Snake River) issues.
There is also a press release here:
And the website: Working Snake River with the tag line: “restoring a river that works for people and salmon”.
From the letters:
Commercial and recreational fishing, a powerful economic engine for the lower Columbia River and Washington coast for generations, has been deeply harmed. Our state’s salmon economies have lost thousands of family-wage jobs, with hundreds of westside businesses and their communities suspended in uncertainty over whether they have a future or not. Restoring a river to re-establish productive, sustainable Columbia Basin fisheries would be a great boon to westside communities.
In addition, the science is now plain that recovery of Puget Sound’s endangered Southern Resident Killer Whales and recovery of endangered chinook salmon in the Columbia Basin are inextricably linked. The 2008 Recovery Plan for these orcas recognizes that steep declines in Columbia and Snake River chinook have resulted in a critical loss of preferred prey during the six months the orcas spend outside of Puget Sound. The Columbia Basin, and particularly the Snake Basin, provides our greatest opportunity to restore significant chinook populations to foster orca survival and recovery. We know you understand both the cultural and economic importance of Puget Sound’s orcas to people, businesses and communities throughout the Sound. The prolonged endangerment of Columbia/Snake salmon leaves at risk orcas and all they mean to Washington.
The issue with endangered Orcas is not just south of the border – see one of my earlier posts: Cull the endangered Orcas? It also has a direct connection to Fraser Chinook, many of which are on death-spiral declines.
One of the biggest threats facing our resident orcas today is the availability of food,” said People For Puget Sound executive director Kathy Fletcher. “Our killer whales depend largely on chinook salmon – whose numbers have dropped significantly in the Northwest. This relationship between orcas and salmon is one more connection — like those of food and energy — uniting the people of Eastern and Western Washington. And its one more reason why we need leadership from our senators to bring our communities together to find effective lasting solutions.
No salmon — no orcas. It’s that simple.