Replace Snake River dams to save salmon, orcas

Could a new Biden administration plan help save our iconic Southern Resident orcas? At the end of 2023, the Biden administration took a huge step toward a greener, more equitable future for the Pacific Northwest. The administration released a plan to fund alternative renewable energy projects in the Columbia Basin that could replace the Lower Snake River Dams. In this new plan, Washington, Oregon, and several tribal governments will work together to build energy resilience and study the replacement of other services the dams provide.

This is an important step following Gov. Jay Inslee’s and Sen. Patty Murray’s 2022 report on replacing the benefits of the dams because it’s one more step toward taking action. Time and time again the research has said the same thing: removing the Lower Snake River Dams is the only chance Snake River salmon have for avoiding extinction. Increased salmon populations would bring us closer to meeting treaty agreements and provide much needed food for our hungry Orcas and the 130-plus other species who rely on salmon. As climate impacts continue to intensify, immediate action is required to restore the Snake River and its salmon runs.

As a young person raised in the Puget Sound region, the salmon and the orcas are key parts of what the Pacific Northwest means to me. As climate change threatens more and more of our species, and our futures, let us save what can still be saved. Let’s breach the Lower Snake River dams.

Marin Plut

Seattle

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