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News / Opinion / Letters to the Editor
The following is presented as part of The Columbian’s Opinion content, which offers a point of view in order to provoke thought and debate of civic issues. Opinions represent the viewpoint of the author. Unsigned editorials represent the consensus opinion of The Columbian’s editorial board, which operates independently of the news department.

Letter: Remove dams, support salmon

By Heather Tischbein, Vancouver
Published: March 2, 2024, 6:00am

Salmon are a keystone species that define our region’s ecology, economy and communities. Salmon are integral to many Northwest tribes and critical to the survival of endangered southern resident orcas and over 100 other species. Yet, salmon remain on the brink of extinction.

It’s crucial that our elected officials honor tribal treaty rights by restoring a free-flowing Lower Snake River for the irreplaceable benefits that healthy and abundant salmon populations provide. Restoring the Lower Snake River will restore access to over 5,000 miles (about twice the width of the United States) of pristine, intact salmon habitat.

Recently, the Biden administration committed considerable funding behind the Columbia Basin Restoration Initiative — a path toward a comprehensive solution for regional salmon recovery. The Columbia Basin Restoration Initiative was developed by the four Lower Columbia River Treaty tribes and the states of Oregon and Washington to provide a durable, long-term strategy for restoring salmon, ensuring a reliable and clean energy future, supporting economic resilience, and meeting long-standing obligations to tribal nations.

The Biden administration has stepped up. Now, we urgently need our congressional leaders to push for a future with abundant salmon. The services of the Lower Snake River dams can be replaced. Salmon cannot.

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