CLARKSTON, WA – Hundreds of boaters will stage a rally on the water September 17 to call for the removal of four dams on the lower Snake River. In a visually exciting event featuring massive floating banners, Free the Snake Flotilla participants seek to highlight the single best action federal agencies can take to restore dwindling wild salmon populations in the Columbia and Snake rivers. Taking out the Snake River dams would boost the regional economy and re-open a pathway to more than 5,000 miles of high quality habitat for endangered wild salmon and steelhead.
The Free the Snake Flotilla will bring together sports fishermen, recreationalists, clean-energy and orca advocates, members of the Nez Perce Tribe, fisheries biologists, conservationists and others from throughout the Northwest who believe we must shift course now to avert the deadly long-term impacts of climate change on iconic wild salmon populations. The event will also serve as a kick-off for a campaign to call on federal agencies to consider dam removal as they reevaluate plans to ensure endangered salmon are not harmed by Federal Columbia River Power System operations.
Campaign spokespeople will be on hand for media interviews. Images and video will be made immediately available for publication here: tinyurl.com/flotillapics.
WHO: The following spokespeople are available for comment:
Kevin Lewis, executive director at Idaho Rivers United, can speak to the regional benefits of recovering endangered salmon and steelhead and stopping taxpayer waste on the lower Snake River. He can be reached at (208) 343-7481 or email@example.com.
Rebecca Miles, an executive director at the Nez Perce Tribe, can speak to the benefits of dam removal from a tribal perspective. She can be reached at (208) 843-7324 or firstname.lastname@example.org.
Steve Pettit, a retired Idaho Department of Fish and Game fisheries biologist, can discuss the impacts of dams and climate change on wild anadromous fish stocks. He can be reached email@example.com.
Giulia Good Stefani, staff attorney with NRDC's Marine Mammal Protection Project, can speak on the important link between endangered orcas and wild salmon. She can be reached at (310) 434-2333 or firstname.lastname@example.org.
Todd True, attorney at Earthjustice, can provide background on the significant May court ruling that rejected agencies' plan to protect endangered salmon as illegal, setting in motion a new planning process that is already underway. He can be reached at (206) 343-7340 x1030 or at email@example.com.
Linwood Laughy, co-founder of FightingGoliath.com, can provide detailed information on the long-term decline of commercial navigation on the lower Snake River. He can be reached firstname.lastname@example.org.
WHERE: Swallows Park, WA-129, Clarkston, WA
WHEN: Sept. 17, 2016. Event begins at 8 a.m. Press conference at 9:30 a.m.
The Free the Snake Flotilla is being organized by a wide-ranging coalition of conservation groups, fishing organizations and business partners from throughout the Northwest. Please visitFreeTheSnake.com for more information.
Federally endangered salmon and steelhead have perished by the thousands in recent years due to inhospitable conditions created by Ice Harbor, Lower Monumental, Little Goose and Lower Granite – four dams on the lower Snake River that collectively supply only about three percent of regional electricity for the power grid. Salmon and steelhead populations have been decimated by a host of environmental factors associated with the dams, while record-breaking temperatures have increased their risk of being exposed to lethally hot river temperatures. The dams are aging, costly to maintain, and no longer necessary in a region that’s experiencing an energy surplus and a recent uptick in wind and solar-powered generation.
On the heels of litigation initiated by Earthjustice on behalf of fishing and conservation groups, the Northwest now has a rare opportunity to remove these outmoded dams and replace them with climate-friendly alternatives that won’t harm fish. In coming months, federal agencies will invite the public to weigh in on a scoping process initiated after a federal judge ruled that dam operators’ previous attempts to protect salmon from harm were ineffective, inadequate, and unrealistic considering mounting climate impacts. The Free the Snake Flotilla kicks off a campaign to illustrate the best path forward. By removing the four lower Snake River dams that threaten salmon’s survival, the Northwest has an opportunity to restore thousands of miles of critical habitat for wild salmon.