Thank you from all of us here at Northwest Steelheaders if you had the chance to participate in our Angling for Advocacy Trip Raffle at the beginning of March. With your help, we raised over $16K to fight for fish and fishing at the local, state, and regional levels.
If you haven’t already, check out our legislative blog post to see what we’re currently working on in Salem and how each bill is moving through the Oregon legislature. If you’re interested in taking an active role in fisheries management, learn how to become a salmon advocate by leveraging your voice with our Advocacy Tacklebox.
The more anglers speak up about issues affecting the rivers we love, the more likely we are to save threatened salmon and steelhead from the risk of extinction and pass on our passion for fishing to future generations.
Forward we go, together.
Chris Hager, Executive Director
By Alix Soliman, Operations Manager
Last year, over 2,500 Oregonians submitted river and stream nominations for inclusion in Senators Wyden and Merkeley’s River Democracy Act, which is intended to add about 4,700 river miles to the National Wild and Scenic Rivers System. Co-President of the Sandy River Chapter Greg Reed and Board Member Norm Ritchie advocated for the inclusion of Still Creek, a tributary of the Zig Zag River in the Sandy River Basin, and succeeded in adding it to the list of streams in the bill.
Just outside of Portland, the lower reaches of Still Creek flow through a winding, forested area known for its anadromous fish runs, spawning beds, and botanical diversity.
“The Sandy River Gorge offers one of the greatest levels of diversity in both wildlife species and habitat of any river in the region,” said Reed. “The area is especially valuable because it is relatively isolated and undisturbed, despite being located only thirty miles from one-third of Oregon’s citizens.” Finish the article here!
The Oregon legislative session is well underway in Salem and Northwest Steelheaders is hard at work fighting for salmon recovery, habitat protections, and fishing opportunities. Our Advocacy and Campaign Manager Betsy Emery and Lobbyist Bob Oleson have participated in a number of public hearings this month to advocate your interests! We testified in support of HB 2600 to appropriate a portion of the transient lodging tax to support the Oregon Conservation and Recreation Fund as well as HB 2386, which would establish an independent scientific review board for the State. We continue to work with ODFW on a number of bill amendments as well, including SB 320, which would create a group angling license for veterans programs and SB 59, which would extend the Columbia River Fisheries Enhancement Fee. Both of these amended bills are expected to be back in Committee in early April for work sessions.
Stay informed about what's happening at the Oregon legislature by following updates on our blog.
By Tamsin Fleming, Advocacy and Organizing Intern
At one point, 50% of salmon returning to the Columbia River Basin spawned in the Snake River or its tributaries. Today, only 1% of these salmon return to their spawning grounds as adults to reproduce. Each interaction a juvenile salmon has with a dam reduces their chance of returning to the Columbia River as an adult by 10%. Snake River salmon have to pass eight dams during migration: four on the lower Snake River and four on the mainstem Columbia River, bringing their chance of returning as adults to just 20%. Removing the lower Snake River dams will remove half of the major obstacles blocking fish migration to and from their spawning grounds.
Current Snake River salmon returns are not sufficient to sustain the population. Snake River summer Chinook returns are around 1.27%, meaning that for every 100 salmon spawned, just over one returns as an adult to spawn another generation. Returns to the John Day River are at 4.21% by comparison, with salmon runs passing through 4 dams rather than 8. If these four massive barriers are removed, salmon and steelhead will have lower migration mortality rates, which will in turn lead to greater reproductive success, putting our wild runs on a trajectory for growth. Salmon returns are projected to more than double.
Hatchery production, bag limits, and quotas are determined by wild return numbers, and dramatically increasing wild returns with river restoration would result in greater harvest, longer seasons, and better catch rates that would improve fishing opportunities substantially.
Snake River Week of Action April 12-16, 2021
Join us in calling on our regional federal legislators to engage in Rep. Simpson's proposal during our upcoming week of action on April 12 - 16. Each day, we will have streamlined opportunities for you to contact your legislators and amplify this historic opportunity for comprehensive river restoration among your communities. We are hosting a webinar on Wed., April 14th at 6pm to help you build your advocacy skills through writing letters to the editor of your local paper. Stay tuned to our social media for updates and announcements as we develop ways for you to join us as advocates in this critical campaign.
We partnered with National Wildlife Federation to create a media-rich, interactive map that follows the iconic migration of wild salmon. Learn about the diverse Northwest communities that rely on Columbia River salmon, the threats they face, and how YOU can help save these species from extinction.
Gyotaku is a traditional Japanese art form that began over 100 years ago as a way for fishermen to keep track of the trophy fish that were caught on voyages. “Gyo” means “fish” and “Taku” means “impression.” This traditional method required fishermen to apply non-toxic sumi ink to one side of the fish, cover the fish with rice paper, and rub the paper until the image of the fish was on the paper. Want to make your own fish prints? Confluence Americorps Education and Outreach Coordinator Kristina Peterson walks you step-by-step through the craft in our recent blog post and video!
Zoom Chapter Meetings
A few chapters have resumed Monthly Chapter Meetings via Zoom, and we hope to get everyone online as soon as possible! To get the Zoom link to access a meeting, please visit our Events Calendar. If you're having trouble setting up Zoom but would like to join a meeting, please reach out to us at firstname.lastname@example.org and we'll help you out. As always, Chapter Meetings are free and open to the public. If you're new to Northwest Steelheaders, attending a meeting is a great first step to getting more involved with your local fishing community.
- Mid-Valley Chapter - Wednesday, April 7 @ 7 pm
- Columbia River Chapter - Wednesday, April 14 @ 6:30 pm
- Tualatin Chapter - Thursday, April 8 @ 7 pm.
'My experience as the Digital Content and Communications Intern at Northwest Steelheaders was nothing short of transformative. I developed critical skills that I’ll carry forward into my future work in marketing and organizational communications, including social media management and engagement, content creation, and more." - Ben Kayser
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.
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