Defenders of Wildlife applauds the Biden administration for its release of a presidential memo calling for federal agencies to take swift action to restore salmon populations across the Columbia and Snake River Basin.
“The Biden Administration is demonstrating promising leadership in a decades-long struggle to restore salmon abundance, save Southern Resident orcas and uphold Tribal treaty rights,” said Shawn Cantrell, Defenders of Wildlife vice president of field operations.
In the memo, the administration recommitted itself to treaties with Tribal Nations and calls on federal agencies to effectively carry out requirements under the Pacific Northwest Electric Power Planning and Conservation Act to manage the Columbia River System to adequately protect and enhance fish and wildlife affected by the federal dams in the basin.
The Memorandum on Restoring Healthy and Abundant Salmon, Steelhead, and Other Native Fish Populations in the Columbia River Basin gives agencies four months to review programs to effectively carry out that order in a way that puts fish and wildlife management on par with other uses of the dams.
Columbia River Basin salmon are in grave danger of extinction, as are the 75 remaining Southern Resident orcas who depend on them as food source. Chinook salmon comprise about 80% of the Southern Residents’ diet, and more than half of those consumed by the orcas in coastal waters hail from the Columbia River Basin.
This memo comes during an extended stay on current litigation over Columbia River Systems Operations, which will expire on October 31.