Member Spotlight: Idaho Rivers United
Date founded: 1990
Member rep: Kevin Lewis
Idaho Rivers United, a Coalition member for the past 14 years, advocates for protecting and restoring Idaho rivers. IRU defends at-risk fish populations, supports minimum stream flows that reduce dams’ harm to Idaho’s rivers.
Lower Snake River dams
IRU argues that the four lower Snake River dams in Washington state are more of a threat to Idaho wild salmon survival than habitat destruction or overfishing.
In an Idaho Statesman oped, IRU executive director Kevin Lewis explains that Idaho’s rivers once abounded with wild salmon and steelhead. The fish bring valuable nutrients — the building blocks of aquatic life in Idaho’s rivers — from the ocean to the inland Northwest, making the rivers national treasures.
In the 1950s, 1.5 million chinook returned to Idaho each year; today a mere 20,000 make it home.
Federal court ruling
In May 2016, a federal court ruled that the federal government’s plan for wild salmon recovery is inadequate to avoid extinction. The judge ordered an environmental impact statement (EIS) on recovery options, with the scoping process (which sets the questions to be addressed) beginning in late 2016.
IRU will be deeply involved in the EIS process.
Join Idaho Rivers United
Support IRU’s work to keep Idaho’s rivers clean, flowing and full of fish by becoming a member today!