Public action committee works to save fish
By the Tricity Herald staff Mar. 18, 2009
A newly formed save the salmon federal public action committee that aims to restore the runs of endangered wild salmon and steelhead in the Pacific Northwest will promote its goals with candidates and office holders in the region who favor removing dams on the Snake River.
The Snake River Salmon Society's founders from Idaho say their nonpartisan PAC will fill a gap in the pro-salmon debate by supplementing the work of "many good and effective pro-salmon nonprofit organizations in the region" that aren't legally allowed to make political contributions, said Steve Bruce, a Boise dentist.
The new PAC will focus on the Snake River Basin -- prime habitat that includes Idaho's Salmon and Clearwater rivers, Oregon's Grande Ronde and Imnaha rivers, and Washington's Tucannon River.
"Restoring wild salmon in the Snake River Basin will protect and create jobs for people from central Idaho to the Pacific Ocean, and from California to Alaska," said Tom Stuart of Boise, another PAC founder.
The PAC will support candidates and office holders who:
w Recognize the current salmon and steelhead crisis and want to take stronger action now to restore endangered runs.
w Respect and support independent scientists and fishery managers in state, tribal and federal agencies.
w Are willing to consider removing four dams on the Lower Snake River that currently impede salmon recovery in the Snake River Basin.
w Will help bring together stakeholders in the region to find more effective salmon and steelhead solutions, especially in the Snake River, which is one of region's best opportunities for wild salmon recovery.
Stuart said candidates who support removal of the four Lower Snake dams would likely get the organization's support, but that supporting dam removal is not a prerequisite.
If removal of the four dams isn't on the table, there's less incentive for federal agencies to implement other significant actions that rebuild wild runs. "We think our PAC can change this dynamic, and bring about more honesty and effectiveness," Stuart said in a news release.
More information is available at www.salmonsociety.org.