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Nez Perce tribe calls on Biden to support dam replacement along the Snake River

The Nez Perce are calling on the Biden Administration to support the replacement of the four...
The Nez Perce are calling on the Biden Administration to support the replacement of the four Lower Snake River dams along the Snake River.(wabi)
Published: Sep. 22, 2021 at 7:13 PM MDT
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LAPWAI ID (KMVT/KSVT) –  Today, The Nez Perce Tribe announced the launch of the Salmon Orca Project, which they say is a result of the worsening situation with Snake River salmon.

The Project directly calls on President Biden’s Administration to take swift and unequivocal action to support the replacement of the four Lower Snake River dams along the Snake River.

“We are battling for the future of a sacred way of life for many in our region.  The United States and native nations signed treaties-treaties that were to ensure the existence and protection of salmon in perpetuity.  But, our salmon are going extinct.  Treaties have not been honored.  As a result, our people and our culture and our very way of life face extinction.  That’s why we stand united as Tribal Nations and call on the Biden Administration to honor the treaties made between our sovereign nations.  We call on this Administration to work with us to replace the Lower Snake River Dams. And we call on the Administration to do so now, not tomorrow or two years from now.  The time to act is now,” said Nez Perce Tribal Executive Committee Chairman, Samuel Penney.

In the face of a precipitous decline of salmon populations in the Columbia-Snake River Basin, Northwest Tribes have urged action to replace Snake River Dams and to continue working toward protection of their way of life. 

These actions include the convening of the historic Salmon Orca Summit on the Squaxin Island Reservation in July 2021 and the issuance of resolutions by the Affiliated Tribes of Northwest Indians and the National Congress of American Indians.

“As we face several challenges -- an aging energy infrastructure, depressed local economies, climate change, and ever-declining fish runs -- we have an opportunity now to address all of these issues and to take a new course of action to provide a stronger future for our region,” said Chairman Penney.

They say replacing the four Lower Snake River dams would also benefit the Southern Resident Orca whales that call Puget Sound home. A major food source for these orcas are the Chinook salmon that live and migrate from the inland rivers of central Idaho out to the ocean.

They also say restoring the Lower Snake River and the salmon that grace those rivers will have tremendous benefits for the Southern Resident orcas.

Governor Jay Inslee’s Puget Sound Orca Task Force listed removal of these four dams in the top-10 actions necessary to save these starving killer whales.

The Salmon Orca Project will be based at the website domain www.salmonorcaproject.com, and will also have an active presence on social media channels such as Facebook, Twitter and Instagram.

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