Sportfishing Industry asks Trump for solid review of Snake River Dams

More than 50 fishing companies, trade groups and conservation organizations sent a letter today to President Donald Trump in support of taking a fresh look at removing four large dams on the lower Snake River to recover wild salmon and steelhead that once thrived in the Snake
River Basin of Idaho, Oregon and Washington.

 

With a court-ordered comprehensive analysis of potential salmon and steelhead recovery actions underway, well-known fishing companies and organizations such as Sage, Costa, Echo, Fishpond, the America Flyfishing Trade Association and many others submitted their support for ensuring wild salmon and steelhead thrive once again in the Columbia and Snake Rivers.

 

The Snake River basin is of particular interest because it was historically the largest producer of spring and summer races of Chinook salmon as well as summer steelhead in the entire Columbia River Basin. The Snake holds about 70 percent of wild salmon and steelhead recovery potential in the entire Columbia Basin due to its high habitat quality. But to reach that potential, wild fish survival rates need to more than double, which will require large survival improvements in the lower Snake River where four dams and reservoirs take a heavy toll on migrating fish.

 

“When thinking about the annual cost of salmon and steelhead recovery, the benefit of doing something bold like removing the Lower Snake river dams may actually prove to be a better return on investment than the current status quo,” said Ben Bulis, president of the American Fly Fishing Trade Association. “And for that reason we believe it should get serious consideration as recovery alternatives are being evaluated.”

 

The group also urged the administration to keep the public’s trust in the process by taking a science-based, transparent look at alternatives, finding ways to both recover steelhead while meeting the needs of local economies and communities.

 

“When considering Snake River Dam operations, we need to consider the potential benefit to the regional recreational economy.  Recovering fishable populations of wild steelhead is part of our business. No fish…no fishing. For the long term viability of not only our business, but the sportsman’s economy in the Northwest, we need to review breaching the Lower Snake River Dams.” Tag Kleiner VP of Marketing at Far Bank Enterprises.

 

 

 

President Donald Trump

The White House

1600 Pennsylvania Ave., NW

Washington, DC 20500

 

February 6, 2017

 

RE: Federal Columbia River Power System

 

Dear President Trump:

 

Wild salmon and steelhead of the Columbia and Snake River basins are a national treasure. Actions taken in the next decade will determine whether they thrive or go extinct. Right now, their future is bleak with status quo management. Major changes are needed to rebuild wild salmon and steelhead populations that are abundant and resilient and provide economic and quality of life benefits to local communities.

 

Your administration has an immediate opportunity to redirect recovery efforts in a way that can achieve this goal. The National Environmental Policy Act (NEPA) process that your administration is embarking on is a once-in-a-lifetime opportunity for the federal agencies that manage the Columbia and Snake river hydrosystem — and all stakeholders of the region — to work together to ensure that wild salmon and steelhead thrive once more. The court-ordered NEPA process will evaluate alternatives for managing the federal hydropower system in a way that recovers wild salmon and steelhead.

 

Specifically, we are asking for a NEPA process with the following attributes: (1) objective, transparent analysis; (2) use of the best available scientific and economic information; (3) opportunities for meaningful public engagement throughout the process; and (4) independent third-party peer review of the Draft Environmental Impact Statement that will emerge from this process. In our view, these attributes are critical to instilling public confidence in the outcome.

 

This NEPA process provides an opportunity to take a fresh look at salmon and steelhead recovery in relation to the Columbia and Snake hydropower system, and come up with a set of actions that will restore healthy, fishable populations of wild salmon and steelhead, as well as improve local economies and quality of life. We stand ready to work with you, the federal agencies, and all stakeholders to identify those actions.

 

We particularly want to draw your attention to the Snake River Basin and the plight of its wild salmon and steelhead. The Snake Basin holds approximately 70 percent of wild salmon and steelhead recovery potential in the entire Columbia Basin due to its high habitat quality, but wild fish survival needs to more than double current levels and that will require large survival improvements in the lower Snake River where four dams and reservoirs take a heavy toll on migrating fish.

Removing the lower Snake dams is the only action identified to date with the potential to yield the survival improvements necessary to recover wild Snake River salmon and steelhead. As such, we believe it should be thoroughly analyzed in the NEPA process.

 

The analysis of lower Snake River dam removal should include both the potential wild fish benefits as well as the actions necessary to replace the benefits the dams provide. Mitigating actions must be fully assessed, such as improvements in rail transportation, new irrigation systems for irrigators who withdraw water from lower Snake River reservoirs, and investments in renewable energy, conservation and electric grid improvements. The potential non-fish benefits of restoring a free-flowing lower Snake River should also be analyzed, such as elimination of flow augmentation from the upper Snake River, elimination of costly sediment dredging behind Lower Granite dam and new recreation opportunities.

 

Our organizations and companies are committed to working with you, your federal agencies, and all Columbia Basin stakeholders to recover irreplaceable wild salmon and steelhead, a defining feature of our region. The vast benefits of restored fisheries will be reaped throughout the basin, from Redfish Lake, Idaho, to the mouth of the Columbia, as well as along the coast, from Oregon, to Washington, and Alaska. We urge you to seize this opportunity by conducting a first-class NEPA process that will serve as a firm foundation for the actions that will allow these magnificent fish to thrive again and revitalize Columbia Basin communities.

Sincerely,

Trout Unlimited

1777 N. Kent Street, Suite 100

Arlington, VA 22209

American Fly Fishing Trade Association

321 East Main St, Suite 300

Bozeman, MT 59715

Allen Fly Fishing

565 Commerce S. Suite 100

Southlake, TX 76092

Anglers All

5211 S. Santa Fe Drive

Littleton, CO 80120

Air Flow USA

7500 NE 16th Ave Suite 1C

Vancouver, WA 98665

Amberjack

221 Canal Street, 6th Floor

New York, NY 10013

The Avid Angler

17171 Bothell Way NE, Suite A272

Lake Forest Park, WA 98155

Backcountry Hunters and Anglers

725 W Alder, Suite 11

Missoula, MT 59802

Abel Reels

165 N. Aviador St. # H

Camarillo, CA 93010

Beulah Fly Rods

1017 Reddy Ave.

Medford, OR 97504

Blackstrap

1305 SE Armour Rd #100

Bend, OR 97702

Bryan Gregson Photography

Bozeman, MT

Brazda Fly Fishing

Jeff Brazda

Ellensburg, WA 98926

Burns Guide Service

PO Box 294

Poulsbo, WA 98370

Costa

2361 Mason Ave Suite 100

Daytona Beach, FL 32117

The Confluence Fly Shop

2620 N. Harbor Loop, Dr. Suite 9

Bellingham, WA 98225

Dean Finnerty Guides and Outfitters

1239 S. 4th

Cottage Grove, OR 97424

Ed Sozinho Photography

Ed Sozinho

Seattle, WA

ECHO Fly Fishing

7500 N.E. 16th Ave., Suite 1C

Vancouver, WA 98665

Finn Utility

3214 East Main Street

Richmond, VT 05477

Fish Need Water

7500 N.E. 16th Ave., Suite 1C

Vancouver, WA 98665

Fishpond

275 Klamath Street

Denver, CO 80223

Fly Fishing Film Tour

5400 Mt. Meeker

Boulder, CO 80301

Fly Vines

429 5 1st Street W

Missoula, MT 59801

The Fly Fishers Place

151 W. Main Ave

Sisters, OR 97759

Flycasters Brewing

12815 NE 124th

Kirkland, WA 98034

Frog Hair

382 State Route 77

Oil City, PA 16301

Frigate Travel

Justin Crump

Rockaway Beach, OR 97136

Hammer Down Guide Service

Geoff Laird & Tyler Henscheid

Corvallis, OR 97330

Holloway Brothers Guide Service

Ty and Clay Holloway

Eugene, OR

Idaho Guides and Outfitters Assn.

P.O. Box 95

Boise, ID 83701

Kast Gear

2131 N. Deborah Dr. #100

Idaho Falls, ID 83401

Maxxon Outfitters

8803 S. 218 Street

Kent, WA 98031

Montana Fly Company

530 First Avenue West

Columbia Falls, MT 59912

Northwest Sportfishing Industry Assn

PO Box 4

Oregon City, OR 97045

Orvis

178 Conservation Way

Sunderland, VT 05250

Pieroway Rod Company

Unit 15, 1339 40th Ave NE
Calgary, Alberta Canada T2E 8N6

Postfly

101 Newburyport Turnpike Bay #1

Newbury, MA 01951

Pro Sportfisher

18872 S. Forest Grove Loop

Oregon City, OR 97045

Redington

8500 NE Day Road

Bainbridge Island, WA 98110

Rio Products

5050 S. Yellowstone Hwy.

Idaho Falls, ID 83402

Rep Your Water

2546 S Main Unit B.

Erie, CO 80516

Ross Reels

11 Ponderosa CT

Montrose, CO  81401

Rvrfshr

16621 35th Ave S.

Seatac, WA 98188

Sage Fly Fishing

8500 NE Day Road

Bainbridge Island, WA 98110

Schnitzer Photo

Russ Schnitzer

Golden, CO

Scott Fly Rod Company

2355 Air Park Way

Montrose, CO 81401

Sea Run Pursuits

John Hicks – WA Licensed Guide

Lacey, WA

Sixgill Fishing

565 Commerce St. Ste. 100

Southlake, TX 76092

SoupleFly

PO Box 2403

Post Falls, ID 83877

Steelhead Vineyard

567 1st Street E.

Sonoma, CA 95476

Tailwalker Fly Fishing

Taylor Wells

Placerville, CA 95667

Vedavoo

PO Box 185

Lancaster, MA 01523

World Cast Anglers

38 West Center Street

Victor, ID 83455