Calling All Idahoans: Help Protect Wild Salmon

The Snake, Salmon, and Clearwater rivers, and salmon that need a healthy river to survive, are in trouble. Each year, wild salmon and steelhead return to cool Idaho mountain streams to spawn. This salmon run is an integral part of a cycle which has happened for millennia. However, warming waters and dams that block the path of these salmon are threatening native salmon populations. If we do not change the way that dams on the Lower Snake River are managed, these salmon risk extinction.

Chinook Salmon in BC - Nicole Beaulac

Photo: Nicole Beaulac

Our faith tells us that we have an obligation to care for the Earth and the people who depend on it. We are called to protect “all creatures great and small,” and keep their habitats healthy so that they can thrive. We believe we have a mandate to protect our wild salmon, and defend the livelihood of our Native neighbors and the commercial and sport fishers who rely on salmon.

U.S. Congresswoman from Eastern Washington Cathy McMorris Rogers has proposed a bill that would prohibit scientists and fishers from making needed changes to dam management on the Lower Snake River. H.R. 3144 prohibits structural or operational changes from being made to the four outdated dams on the Lower Snake River without an act of Congress.

 With declining returns resulting in the temporary closure of Idaho’s fishing season, it is clear that business as usual policies are not working for our state. HR 3144 would derail solid science, analysis, and citizen involvement that have shown that the current operating procedure of these dams does not adequately protect salmon. It thwarts an open, transparent process to move the region towards resolution and a future where fishermen and farmers can thrive, treaty obligations are honored, and abundant salmon once again return to the rivers of Idaho.

Join Earth Ministry staff and members in Idaho to put our faith in action and tell our Congressmen that that religious communities want sustainable and healthy dam management that protects every creature, especially wild salmon. Submit your comment below to add your voice to the ranks of people of faith asking Idaho Congressmen to oppose H.R. 3144. Thank you!


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Dear Representative Labrador, Representative Simpson, Senator Risch, and Senator Crapo,

36567047762_f5bfdf6ea9_oThank you for your work on behalf of the people of Idaho and the whole Inland Northwest. We are people of faith from across your districts, and we are writing to you regarding HR 3144. We would like to thank you for not sponsoring this bill, and would encourage you to vote against its passage.

We know from scripture that the Earth is a sacred gift given to us by God. In exchange for this life-giving and sustaining bounty, we have an obligation to care for the Earth and the people who depend on it. We believe we have a mandate to protect our wild salmon, defend the livelihood of commercial and sport fishing families, as well as farming families, and ensure the economic vitality of the Inland Northwest. The Snake, Salmon, and Clearwater rivers and the fish that populate them are among God’s greatest gifts to the state of Idaho.

H.R. 3144 takes us in the wrong direction. It ignores federal district court judge Michael Simon’s ruling that the 2014 Biological Opinion on endangered salmon is inadequate and illegal, and makes this failed plan the official operating procedure of the federal agencies charged with running the Lower Snake River dams. It also requires that no structural or operational changes can be made to these four outdated dams without an act of Congress. HR 3144 would derail solid science, analysis, and citizen involvement, and enshrine failed salmon policies. With declining returns resulting in the temporary closure of Idaho’s fishing season, it is clear that business as usual policies are not working for our state. Among those most affected by this bill would be the Nez Perce and other sovereign tribes. The tribes have rights guaranteed by treaty to access the fish which sustain their life and culture. This bill thwarts an open, transparent process to move the region towards a resolution and a future where Idaho’s fishermen and farmers can thrive, treaty obligations are honored, and abundant salmon once again return to the Snake River and its tributaries.

We all love the Inland Northwest, and we are invested in maintaining the health and prosperity of this area. We must be good stewards of the Earth so that we can continue to live on it, and benefit from its bounty, for generations to come. As members of the faith community and your constituents, we thank you for joining us in the process of restoration and reconciliation with the created world and with our neighbors by your continued resistance to HR 3144 and other efforts that threaten Idaho’s wild fish and the communities they sustain. Thank you.