In a recent video interview, U.S. Judge James Redden stated his support for spilling more water at the dams to help migrating salmon and steelhead reach the ocean. He also stated his support for removal of the four lower Snake River dams.
Judge Redden, who resigned last November after more than a decade on the long-running court case over hydro-operations in the Columbia Snake Rivers, is intimately familiar with both the law and the science around salmon and steelhead restoration, and has done more to help our fisheries than perhaps anyone over the last several decades.
In addition to supporting lower Snake River dam removal and spilling more water to help salmon, Judge Redden also alluded, as many others have, to the ongoing scenario of politics trumping science in the Columbia-Snake Basin. “The politics of it makes it difficult for some of the scientists,” he said.
Take Action: Send a message to NOAA Administrator Jane Lubchenco and Nancy Sutley, Chair of President Obama’s Council on Environmental Quality, with a CC to your Senators. Ask them to initiate a new, all-options dialogue about restoring wild salmon and steelhead in the Columbia-Snake.
Redden’s remarks are his strongest statement on federal salmon policy to date, underscoring the need new for a renewed dialogue about solutions to protect our fisheries and Northwest communities – including alternatives to the four lower Snake River dams.
In 2012, the Northwest celebrates its seventh straight year of Judge Redden’s court-ordered spill at the Columbia-Snake dams to help migrating juvenile salmon. The increased returns of the last few years have confirmed our common sense: let the river run like one and salmon and steelhead will respond (and spawn!)
The Save Our Wild Salmon Coalition, working alongside scores of organizations and thousands of businesses and anglers across the Northwest, has fought successfully in court to counter the federal mismanagement of salmon and steelhead, and to implement measures that work, like spill. Failing both science and the law, the last four federal plans for the Columbia-Snake Basin have been ruled illegal in court. The regional representatives of the federal agencies – charged with developing a new plan that takes a closer look at options like lower Snake River dam removal – are currently showing no signs of heeding Judge Redden’s call for a legal, science-based plan.
Wild salmon and steelhead in the Columbia-Snake Basin today remain on life support. According to a recent multi-year study on salmon and steelhead survival in the watershed (the Comparative Survival Study from the Fish Passage Center), fish will need much more spill, or options such as lower Snake River dam removal, in order to avoid extinction.
The Judge’s comments, in hand with the federal government’s inaction and this recent survival study all make one thing abundantly clear: after over 20 years and nearly $11 billion dollars spent on ineffective federal salmon and steelhead policies, it’s time for a new direction…
For more about Save Our Wild Salmon, or contact firstname.lastname@example.org.