Just like that, we’re waving goodbye to June and hello to July. If you’ve been springer fishing, well, good on you! It's been another dismal return for spring chinook and frankly, I’m getting tired of record lows for these iconic fish. That's why we have been working tirelessly this past month to fight on your behalf for what counts: fish passage.
Clear corridors and migration routes are crucial for the survival of salmon and steelhead. Working with a coalition of groups and state representatives, we convinced Rep. Defazio to include $300 million in funding for fish and wildlife passage in the INVEST in America Act that is currently sitting in the Senate. Without this crucial funding, we would see an exponential increase in backlogged maintenance for culverts, bridges and passageways, allowing migrating fish to access spawning grounds.
We have also been working to support our local guides by raffling trips to battle economic stagnation. Our guides share decades of knowledge and expertise on our local streams and recreational fisheries; their wisdom and work are absolutely crucial to bolstering the angling community. If you are a guide interested in participating in this program, please contact us at email@example.com.
While we will continue to remain closed due to Covid-19, you can expect our programs and events to pick back up again in the fall. Our primary goal is to keep our staff, volunteers, and members safe, but we’ll be back soon!
Forward we go, together.
Chris Hager, Executive Director
By Betsy Emery, Education Organizer and Outreach Coordinator and Alix Soliman, Operations Manager
The lower Snake River dams were installed at a time when hydroelectricity was the most viable form of renewable energy and barge transport was booming. We face a very different reality today, making the dams obsolete.
Solar arrays and wind farms are now prevalent throughout eastern Washington, Oregon and western Idaho, which generate 1.5x as much energy for the Pacific Northwest as all four of the lower Snake River dams combined (2,500 average megawatt hours versus 1,000 average megawatt hours). In Oregon alone, the amount of wind energy has more than doubled since 2010, providing almost 12% of the state’s energy portfolio in 2018.
In the early 2000s, barge shipping saw a significant decline as farmers began shifting back to rail. During its peak in 1995, over 1,200 barges traversed the lower Snake River. This number dropped to 358 in 2015. The number of loaded barges passing through Lower Granite (the dam located closest to Lewiston, Idaho) has declined by 75% since 1993. Learn more...
By Dominic Triolo, Intern
Six years ago, I hatched from a pink, translucent egg in the crisp waters of the upper Snake River. My mother sacrificed her life to give birth to me just like her mother did for her, and soon, I will do the same for my children.
As I grew, I explored the main stem of the Snake River, hiding from the otters, bass, and birds that pose a constant threat to my life. I sought refuge from these predators in deep pools and among increasingly rare debris in the river, like fallen logs and branches. Not so long ago, logs would back up on the river and flood areas upstream, depositing sediment and creating vital habitat for me. Unfortunately, these log jams make shipping nearly impossible and most of them have been cleared to support barge transportation. This made it hard for me to find good hiding spots and sediment-rich habitat in the stream as a young salmon.
When I turned one year old, my parr marks began to disappear, alerting me to the fact that my first great journey would soon begin. I knew it was time to go to the ocean. Under natural conditions, it would be an arduous journey: over 450 miles of river fraught with predators, rapids, strong currents, and changing salinity that culminates in a rapid biological adaptation to the ocean. Unfortunately, man-made obstacles such as agricultural runoff, heat pollution, stagnant water and dams further complicated my voyage. Learn more...
Rep. DeFazio Proposes $300 Million for Fish and Wildlife Migration in Amended Surface Transportation Bill
Photo by Evan Smogor
As Chair of the House Transportation and Infrastructure Committee, Oregon Representative Peter DeFazio (Dem.) has been an ally in ensuring that Oregon's salmon and steelhead have cold and clean water to call home.
In addition to introducing the Clean Water for All Act, he proposed legislation that would update the existing Clean Water Act using best available science last week, he amended the Committees' Surface Transportation Bill to include $300 million to support fish and wildlife passage projects that improve habitat connectivity, like unblocking culverts and installing fish screens on diversion pipes. While seemingly small, these projects provide huge benefits in restoring salmon and steelhead access spawning habitat that has been made inaccessible by roads and other land uses. Best of all, this funding was also included in Senate Committees' Transportation Bill, creating a foundation for a bi-partisan win for funding to protect migrating species!
We are reaching out to YOU, a dedicated supporter of salmon and steelhead conservation to ask you to sign on to our letter thanking him for including this funding in his amended bill. Our migrating fish and wildlife need continued leadership from Rep. DeFazio, so we need him to know that his positive actions do not go unnoticed by anglers.
Email Betsy Emery, our Organizer and Outreach Coordinator at firstname.lastname@example.org to sign-on!
Mid-Valley Chapter Assists ODFW Project to Facilitate Visitor Engagement at Local Fishing Ponds
During the summer and fall of 2019, the Mid-Valley Chapter volunteers aided ODFW by assembling five kiosks at various local fishing locations. The kiosks are designed as long-lifetime structures with plastic lumber and aluminum pieces. The project initially started with volunteers adding benches and finishing platform and ramp railings around E.E. Wilson Pond near Corvallis, then branched out to include St Louis Ponds near Gervais and Woodburn Pond north of Woodburn. More recently, the chapter has helped with re-leveling the walkways around E.E. Wilson Pond for better handicapped access.
The chapter has also been assembling a trailer and portable pool with aeration pump and filter for sponsoring kids fishing events around the central Willamette Valley. The McLoughlin Chapter lent their portable unit to the Mid-Valley Chapter for the past two years and will hopefully be able to acquire its own next year.
Join We Love Clean Rivers’ great team of River Ambassadors as they provide river visitors, (while social distancing) with the information they need to stay safe and become stewards of the Clackamas River! Volunteers are motivated to improve visitor experiences, communicate river conditions, and encourage river stewardship and safety. They welcome local park visitors by answering questions and serve as the friendly face of the local and recreational community. Learn more...
As an affiliate member of the Northwest Steelheaders, Tim Wilson will donate $1000 if any Steelheader works with Tim or refers him to friends and family to purchase or sell real estate and the transaction closes. $500 will go to the procuring member's chapter and $500 will go to the association's general fund. To date, Tim has raised over $11,000 for the Northwest Steelheaders through this program. View Tim's webpage and contact him at email@example.com
Northwest Steelheaders is crossing boundaries into new waters, and we’re looking for your talented artwork to help us move into a new era of salmon conservation. Our competition is open to students in Oregon and Washington, grades K-12 . The theme is Crossing Boundaries, which is what salmon and steelhead have to do time and time again during their migration. We're looking for images that portray salmon and steelhead. The deadline for submissions is July 5th. Learn more...
When you visit https://smile.amazon.com/ and designate "Association of Northwest Steelheaders Inc" under the search bar before you make a purchase, Amazon will donate 0.5% to our organization. While this seems like just a small drop in the pond, it really adds up and is easy to set up.
Did you know that you can protect salmon habitat from your own backyard? The Association of Northwest Steelheaders has teamed up with National Wildlife Federation’s Garden for Wildlife program to bring you a guide on how to garden for salmon.
Gardening for salmon means we need to rethink fertilizers and pesticides, along with other backyard chemicals. More often than not, what we put in our soil and spray on our patios and driveways often runs off and ends up in our waterways and can be harmful to all aquatic life. Young salmon are especially vulnerable. If you’ve been reaching for the “weed and feed,” think again. Prevent unwanted plants from taking root by planting densely, mulching and hand-pulling weeds (especially non-natives which don’t support wildlife). Reduce the size of your lawn in favor of native plants and allow a diversity of plants to grow in what lawn you do have.
Use compost to fertilize, which enriches the life in the soil rather than kills it and won’t pollute the local waterways that salmon rely on. Don’t rake away all your fallen leaves; instead, use them as a mulch that will naturally fertilize too as they break down. Densely-planted gardens filled with native plants rarely have pest problems because they support pest predators. Hand-pick pests if you do find any. Avoid pesticides–both insecticides and herbicides. This helps keep contaminants out of the water. It’s important to remember the vast majority of bugs are beneficial, and some insects are important sources of food for juvenile salmon.
Since 1973, the Garden for Wildlife program has empowered people to invite wildlife back into their neighborhoods by converting their gardens, both large and small, urban and rural, into habitat for local pollinators, birds, and other wildlife. Every habitat garden is a step toward replenishing resources for wildlife throughout Oregon’s watersheds, forests, and urban areas. Learn more...
We would like to address the Black Lives Matter protests that have erupted across the U.S. and the world in response to the murders of George Floyd, Breonna Taylor, Ahmaud Arbery, and so many others. We recognize that ending racial discrimination in the U.S. begins with having discussions about it within our communities.
Northwest Steelheaders is committed to building partnerships with people and organizations whose mission it is to invite new faces, of all colors, to fishing. In September of 2019, our staff and Board of Directors internally implemented ongoing diversity, equity, and inclusion training intended to improve our understanding and behavior in order to work toward our goal to become a more inclusive and equitable organization. Learn more...
All upcoming events and chapter meetings have been cancelled or postponed in an effort to maintain public safety and follow government protocol during the COVID-19 pandemic.
Become a Volunteer! As a volunteer-driven organization, we thrive when you take action on issues you care about. Learn more...
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