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Recovering Snake River Salmon

The magnificent salmon runs of the Columbia River, once the world’s most abundant, are nearing extinction. With 2023 salmon returns dropping to historic lows, we must rethink how we manage the Snake River, a major tributary of the Columbia River, and the negative impacts of the Lower Snake River dams. 

Salmon underwater

Federal agencies have been tasked with developing a plan to save Snake River salmon from extinction. However, the most recent plan submitted by the US Army Corps of Engineers is wholly inadequate and must be dramatically expanded. As proposed, it cannot recover abundant salmon runs or provide our communities with economic security.

Since the final construction of the Lower Snake River dams in the 1970s, 13 species of salmon and steelhead have been listed threatened according to the Endangered Species Act. Despite decades of habitat recovery attempts at the cost more than $17 billion, 2019 salmons returns remained perilously low, forcing emergency fishing closures — and economic devastation — in inland and coastal fishing communities.

Salmon fry creditedFor the past two decades, the National Wildlife Federation has led a coalition of advocates seeking to recover the imperiled salmon runs in the Columbia River Basin. In early 2020, the National Wildlife Federation launched a campaign to bring Snake River salmon back to from the brink of extinction. This campaign involves tribes, farmers, irrigators and recreational and commercial fishermen. While the salmon crisis is increasingly urgent, we know that the Northwest is up to the challenge.  We believe that if we work together we can strengthen our communities, ensure reliable clean energy, and bring wild salmon back to abundance. Together, we can support the largest salmon recovery effort in history.

Salmon need healthy, free-flowing rivers to survive. National Wildlife Federation and its affiliates, Association of NW Steelheaders and Idaho Wildlife Federation, are working with a broad coalition of partners in the region and across the country to ensure that this fantastic journey continues. Reach out to Jacqueline Koch to learn more. 

Join the Campaign to Recover Snake River Salmon

Our Northwest Opportunity is a group of individuals, businesses, and organizations who support a stronger future for the Northwest region. People across the region are sharing their stories and coming together to have conversations that will move our region forward.

You'll find more information on Our Northwest Opportunity and you can take direct action here. Please like and follow this Facebook page to learn more, hear stories from your neighbors, and find out how you can get involved.

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Where We Work

More than one-third of U.S. fish and wildlife species are at risk of extinction in the coming decades. The National Wildlife Federation is on the ground in seven regions across the country, collaborating with 53 state and territory affiliates to reverse the crisis and ensure wildlife thrive.

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