Eastside/Westside fishing groups, clean energy advocates, business leaders and conservationists unveil project, seek leadership from Washington state’s U.S. senators
Business leaders, fishing and recreation groups, conservation organizations and clean energy advocates today announced the launch of Working Snake River for Washington. The project — part of a process begun in Eastern Washington by fishing, business and conservationists seeking resolution to the Snake River salmon crisis — will continue bringing together citizens, businesses and elected leaders to restore salmon and steelhead, invest in Washington communities and build Northwest prosperity through restoring a Snake River that works for everyone.
Last week, more than 60 Eastern Washington and Idaho leaders released a letter to Washington U.S. Sens. Patty Murray and Maria Cantwell requesting their leadership in a stakeholder process to address the salmon restoration crisis. The letter was also published in a full-page ad in the PNW Inlander. Today they are joined by a large and diverse coalition including People for Puget Sound, Northwest Sportfishing Industry Association, Washington Trollers Association, NW Energy Coalition, Washington Council of Trout Unlimited, American Whitewater, American Rivers, Orca Network, Sierra Club, Pacific Federation of Fishermens Associations and Save Our Wild Salmon.
“We signed the letter because we’re ready to work with interests across the state to secure a scientifically credible and legal salmon restoration plan” said Upper Columbia Sierra Club chair Dr. John Osborn. “But to succeed in this effort, Washington’s citizens really need leadership from their two U.S. senators, Patty Murray and Maria Cantwell.”
U.S. Sens. Mike Crapo (R-Idaho) and Jeff Merkley (D-Oregon) have publicly supported a solutions table involving all interests to resolve the salmon crisis. Sens. Murray and Cantwell have not yet publicly endorsed such a process.
Working Snake River for Washington advocates for solutions that meet the needs of all those with a stake in Columbia Basin salmon recovery. “We want to work with farmers and rural communities in eastern Washington to support a salmon restoration plan that benefits Washington’s food producers. We all need certainty—both fishermen and farmers,” said Ron Richards, a commercial salmon fisherman.
“Restoring wild salmon directly benefits Puget Sound’s resident orcas that rely on these salmon as a main food source,” said People for Puget Sound executive director Kathy Fletcher. “This salmon crisis is a Washington state problem and all of us must work together to fashion real solutions.”
Northwest Sportfishing Industry Association executive director Liz Hamilton expressed her industry’s commitment to sitting down with other interests and doing the hard work needed to reach consensus. “We need Sens. Cantwell and Murray and Washington’s other elected leaders to join with us,” Hamilton said. “We can’t afford to sit back and watch our fisheries decline further. The current state of conflict and lack of solutions hurts not only our but Washington state as well.”
Marc Krasnowsky, communications director for NW Energy Coalition, noted the similarities between the Working Snake River project and his own organization’s successful record of bringing diverse voices and interests together to forge clean-energy solutions.
“Working with utilities, energy users and other stakeholders, we can build a future of abundant salmon and clean, affordable energy,” he said. “We have an opportunity to make affordable, long-term investments in energy efficiency and new, clean renewables that will provide jobs and economic opportunity throughout the state and region. We must seize this opportunity.”
To learn more about Working Snake River for Washington go to: http://www.workingsnakeriver.org