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.
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 H.R. 3144 prohibits structural or operational changes from being made to the four outdated dams on the Lower Snake River without an act of Congress.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!