Inslee’s Commitment to Working Toward Comprehensive Solution to Save Salmon ‘Welcome News’

‘This Process Must Build off the Foundation Laid by Northwest Tribes, Representatives Simpson, Blumenauer’

WASHINGTON, D.C. —Washington Governor Jay Inslee’s commitment to working with Northwest communities, Columbia River Basin Tribes, and others to develop a comprehensive solution to recover abundant salmon in the region is welcome news. The National Wildlife Federation urged the governor, U.S. Senator Patty Murray (D-Wash.) and the Northwest delegation to build upon the bipartisan framework championed by U.S. Representatives Mike Simpson (R-Idaho) and Earl Blumenauer (D-Ore.) in their discussions.

“We are watching an extinction event unfolding in real-time in the Pacific Northwest. There is a clear opportunity for Washington’s elected leaders to build upon Representative Mike Simpson’s efforts — based on hundreds of stakeholder meetings and outreach — to recover abundant Columbia River salmon, meet our treaty obligations to Northwest Tribes, and support communities throughout Idaho, Oregon and Washington,” said Collin O’Mara, president and CEO of the National Wildlife Federation. “Gov. Inslee’s commitment today is welcome news as he and Senator Murray work to find solutions to save endangered Columbia River salmon. This process now must accelerate the momentum of efforts put forth by Northwest Tribes, Representatives Simpson and Blumenauer and move a viable plan forward to breach the four lower Snake River dams, invest in clean energy solutions, and support economic development."

Inslee’s commitment, delivered at a Washington Conservation Voters event, comes as the salmon crisis in the Columbia River Basin becomes increasingly urgent. Unprecedented high water temperatures, largely due to shallow reservoirs behind the lower Snake River dams, are killing salmon, a cold-water fish. This summer, steelhead returns were the lowest ever recorded — less than half the average of the last five years. Without immediate intervention, Columbia River salmon will disappear, a devastating and irreversible loss to Northwest Tribes, ecosystems and communities. 

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