Beautiful, intelligent and social Orcas are literally starving to extinction.
The Southern Resident wild Orca population, which inhabits the Northwest portion of the Pacific Ocean, is down to fewer than 80 individuals. Their main food source, Chinook salmon, is also endangered. Scientists have concluded the single best thing we can do to save wild salmon in the Northwest is to take down four dams on the lower Snake River in Washington.
The U.S. Army Corps of Engineers, the Bureau of Reclamation and the Bonneville Power Administration have invited the public to comment on the revised plan for long-term management of the 29 federal dams in the Columbia River basin, which includes the lower Snake River.
When Orcas don’t get enough salmon to eat, they become weakened and vulnerable to a host of other threats, from toxins to noise to harassment to birth complications. With birth rates low and calf mortality high – even under the best of circumstances – we must act now to break this cycle. And salmon are the key.
The Columbia and Snake rivers of the Pacific Northwest once hosted the world’s greatest wild salmon runs, with up to 16 million fish each year. Today, it is the most heavily dammed river system on Earth. In fact, four dams on the lower Snake River are driving all remaining Snake River salmon toward extinction. Since the dams were completed, these salmon populations have plummeted by more than 90%.
We have the opportunity to bring about the greatest wild salmon restoration in history.