Friday, May 21, 2010

A plan that can protect or weaken Wild Salmon is just around the corner

On the heels of the catastrophic oil spill that is crushing wildlife in the Gulf of Mexico, the Obama administration is poised to make a decision this week that could change the fate of endangered species in this country. On May 20, the Administration will release a federal salmon plan that will do one of two things for endangered wildlife: protect the Endangered Species Act, or weaken it. A decision to weaken the ESA for the West’s iconic Columbia and Snake River salmon could send an ecological ripple across the country — affecting every endangered species in the nation.

And the situation doesn’t look good. Instead of charting its own path, the administration is working off an illegal Bush administration plan for endangered salmon.

Because they return to the biggest, highest and best-protected habitat in America, endangered Snake River salmon are slated as the West’s best chance to save salmon for future generations in an environment threatened by climate change. These cold, crisp waters of spanning three Western states — Washington, Oregon and Idaho, will remain cold under warming climates, protecting these one-of-a-kind salmon with a one-of-a-kind habitat. Making the wrong decision on these rivers would effectively dam (pun fully intended) these salmon to extinction.

"The last cut at this plan largely ignored the impacts climate change will most certainly have on these salmon. And it ignored the unique habitat in the Snake Basin that these fish call home. The science tells us that getting these fish back home is the surest and perhaps only way to ensure salmon in the Columbia-Snake Basin under a warming world. Let's hope that in addition to protecting the ESA, the administration prepares for the current and future harms caused to these fish from global warming. Let's get these fish back to their habitat so we can ensure salmon in the Columbia-Snake Basin for generations to come." — John Kostyack, Executive Director of Wildlife Conservation and Global Warming for National Wildlife Federation in Washington, DC. NWF is the lead plaintiff in the fight to protect Columbia-Snake salmon.

The Columbia-Snake Rivers may not be in your own backyard, but the effects of this decision certainly will be. Take action today to save salmon and protect America’s endangered species.

These fish are fighting right now to survive — tackling a gauntlet of dams, escaping predators and climbing higher than any salmon on Earth. They’re doing their part. Now let’s do ours !

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