Snake River Basin Restoration

Photo: Alison Meyer Photography
Snake River Basin Restoration
Northwest Sportfishing Industry Association

The 49,000 square mile Snake River watershed currently contains 20 percent of the stream habitat occupied by salmon and steelhead on the West Coast. Wild salmon and steelhead that reach this habitat are genetically diverse fish that travel above 6,000 feet to spawn and head for cold mountain streams —a key climate adaptation very likely to improve their chance of survival. The area is a hotspot for fishing and other recreational opportunities. However, the four LSR dams keep salmon and steelhead from accessing critical habitat and create slow-moving reservoirs, which become lethally hot in summer for all salmon species. The negative impacts have had a major impact on the northwest sportfishing industry.

At the end of 2023, President Biden announced an agreement to work with Tribes and officials from the region to restore wild salmon populations, study how the services provided by the four dams could be replaced, and support local communities and Tribes in the Columbia River Basin. Building on the momentum of this announcement, Northwest Sportfishing Industry Association (NSIA) is working with Tribal representatives, leaders, scientists, state and federal agencies, private landowners, NGOs and other stakeholders to build support for the Snake River campaign to remove the four dams. The goal will be to keep up momentum in order to breach the dams by 2030.