Dear supporter

Though our daily lives have changed over the past few months, the necessity to conserve our fisheries and fight for the next generation of anglers remains the same. Amidst the chaos, support from our members reinforces our mission. I am inspired by the way our members, chapters, and partners in conservation have been stepping up to support local guides, businesses, and the greater fishing community by continuing to do what we love. 

While we face a winding river ahead, our vision for a better future holds strong. This month, we have continued to advocate on a host of angler issues. 

  • We have been working with state officials, NSIA and CCA on Columbia River Reforms to ensure that ODFW and WDFW will not abandon promises made to anglers by allowing gill nets back on the main stem of the Columbia River. 
  • We provided comments and support of ODFW’s proposal to increase boating opportunities above Oxbow Park on the Sandy River. If passed, this change will bolster salmon and steelhead conservation on the Sandy River and increase opportunities to catch hatchery fish. 
  • We have been urging the ODFW Commission members to once again allow anglers to fish with two rods on the Willamette River.
  • We are engaging with the Oregon Conservation and Recreation Fund Advisory Committee to ensure that the new funding model for ODFW has precedence on fishery conservation, specifically habitat and fish passage.
  • We have been ramping up our campaign to breach the lower four Snake River dams—a battle that Northwest Steelheaders has been involved in for the past 40 years.

If you would like to help support our current initiatives, please consider donating today. Thank you again for your continued support during these uncertain times.

Forward we go, together.

Chris Hager, Executive Director


The Lower Snake River Dams: What You Need to Know

Salmon and Steelhead are Counting on Us

The Association of Northwest Steelheaders is dedicated to removing the Lower Granite, Little Goose, Lower Monumental, and Ice Harbor dams on the lower Snake River, which have been decimating endangered fish populations since they were built between 1955-1975. Removing the dams is essential to achieving five main goals:

Despite spending more than $17 billion in tax dollars to attempt to recover these critical populations over the past 25 years, 2019 salmon returns dropped to historic lows – a clear sign that this trend will continue if we move forward with status quo management. People have been talking about removing these dams for decades. With over 50 years’ worth of science documenting their negative impacts on endangered fish populations, it is clear that removing these dams would dramatically improve populations and protect them from looming extinction. Learn more...

As a region, we need smarter solutions based on science. We need to come together and rethink how we manage the lower Snake River system. We must imagine solutions that benefit salmon, communities, and industries. 

Click here to receive updates on our campaign and on how you can get involved!

Tempering Heat Pollution in the Lower Snake River

Oregon and Washington governors are using their authority under the Clean Water Act to require dam operators to reduce the heat they are introducing into the Snake and Columbia Rivers. Heat pollution causes substantial stress and even death for endangered salmon and steelhead. 

Under the Clean Water Act, it is unlawful for entities to “discharge pollutants” into waterways. Polluters must obtain permits through the federal Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) or their State Department of Environmental Quality (DEQ) to regulate discharge.

Heat is explicitly identified as a pollutant under the Clean Water Act, making entities that heat waterways responsible for mitigating the temperature changes they cause. Throughout the summer, water passing over three of the four dams on the lower Snake River exceeds the 68 degree Fahrenheit threshold that salmon and steelhead can survive in.

The lower Snake River dams and some of the dams on the mainstem of the Columbia were built before the Clean Water Act was passed and this permitting system was developed. 

Washington and Oregon made strides this month by urging lower Snake River dam operators to obtain permits, and The EPA released their Total Maximum Daily Load (for heat) on the Columbia and Snake rivers

Key Take-aways:

  • Dams are the main cause of deadly temperatures in the lower Snake River, making the river too hot for salmon and steelhead to migrate successfully.
  • Dam operators must lower temperatures in the lower Snake River one to two degrees Celcius throughout the summer and fall in order for salmon to survive and migrate successfully.
  • To meet these temperature-reduction targets, we need bold actions… we must fight to remove the dams.

Learn more about heat pollution...

Get your Wildlife Habitat Certified Today!

The Association of Northwest Steelheaders has teamed up with National Wildlife Federation’s Garden for Wildlife program to transform backyards, school grounds, places of worship, businesses, and community spaces into Certified Wildlife Habitats. 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. Right now, save 20% when you certify and purchase any Certified Wildlife Habitat sign with promo code: GARDEN20  

Go Fishin' for Family Fun!

Learning at home with the kiddos? Eco-Schools Virtual Classroom Resources are here to help with a suite of stay-at-home crafts and activities to connect families to nature during these challenging times. Check out Wild About Stampin’, Scavenging for Species, Schooled on Salmon, and Pollinator and Salmon Lifecycle Origami Chatterboxes – all created by the Oregon office.


Calling All Youth Artists!

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, so we’re looking for artwork that portrays our mission to dive headlong into new waters for salmon and steelhead conservation. The deadline for submissions is July 5th. Learn more...

We're Hiring a New Education and Outreach Coordinator

We are currently recruiting for our next AmeriCorps Member for the Sept 2020-July 2021 service term with Confluence Environmental Center. This position is a partnership between Confluence Environmental Center, AmeriCorps Program, National Wildlife Federation and the Association of Northwest Steelheaders. NWF and ANWS are seeking an AmeriCorps Member to build on the successes of previous AmeriCorps Members. Visit Confluence Environmental Center or our website to learn more!

The position:

  • Promotes environmental justice by engaging communities and partners in opportunities that help develop access to outdoor experiences (Family Fish Camp – 25%)
  • Coordinates salmon education initiatives (Fish Eggs to Fry – 15%)
  • Supports sustainable environmental education (Eco-Schools USA, Schoolyard Habitats – 15%)
  • Recruits wildlife stewards to restore/protect wildlife habitat (Garden for Wildlife – 20%)
  • Conducts general outreach and partnership development (5%) 

Mid-Valley Chapter Loses a Legend

By Jim Sallee, Mid-Valley Chapter President

The Mid-Valley chapter lost a truly valuable member and most importantly, an irreplaceable friend. Don Heintzman passed to better waters on April 19th. Don and his wife, Vicky, have been active members of the NW Steelheaders since 1975. They spent 45 years  volunteering for just about every unheralded leadership position and necessary job to make our chapter-level organization run smoothly. Don always had a big, inviting smile for everyone that approached him...especially if he knew fishing stories were in store for him. 

Don was awarded with our association's "Fisherman of the Year" trophy at a Hall of Fame banquet. Though I am not sure of the year, it doesn't matter because he gave more than enough of himself to have been awarded over and over, year after year. Our chapter board members voted to name a trophy for both Don and Vicky, a small token of appreciation for all Don and Vicky have contributed.

Of course, Don was a gifted storyteller and an extremely accomplished fisherman. He will be missed deeply.

Farewell Don, tight lines in heaven.

Columbia River Chapter Restores Lewis River Boat Launch 

By Donny Hyde, Columbia River Chapter President

Volunteers from the Columbia River Chapter and members restored the Lewis River Golf Course boat launch to its former glory... free of cost! The chapter worked hard to secure resources and manpower, and the result is fantastic. We can't thank our contributors enough: Anderson Environmental Contracting, LLC for donating the heavy equipment used as well as lunch for volunteers, and Dan Pond and Ben Stordahl for donating all of the gravel and delivery for this project. 

If you’ve used this launch in the past, you would know how rough of a ride it was with all the pot holes, uneven terrain, and low hanging trees/debris. Well not anymore! The parking up top and the road leading down to the launch is all cleared and smooth. We also cleaned up all the areas down by the launch itself and the trails leading to the bank fishing area to allow for easier walking.

Projects like this wouldn’t be possible without our amazing chapter members who selflessly donate their time and amazing companies within our community who support our cause!


Coming Up

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. To help us offset the cost of these event cancellations, please consider donating to our cause. 

Get Involved

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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Association of Northwest Steelheaders
6641 SE Lake Rd. Milwaukie, OR 97222
(503) 653-4176

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