Steelhead are returning to Idaho in record-low numbers and prompting fisheries managers to curtail this fall’s fishing season. According to an Aug. 15 press release from the Idaho Department of Fish and Game about 400 steelhead had crossed Lower Granite Dam and entered Idaho by Monday, Aug. 14. The 10-year average for the date is about 6,000 steelhead.
Twenty years ago this month the Idaho Statesman wrote a groundbreaking collection of editorials that concluded it was time to remove four dams on the lower Snake River to save taxpayers money and restore endangered wild salmon. This summer five Northwest lawmakers have introduced legislation that would turn the clock back on the limited progress that's been made during the ensuing two decades.
The Idaho Rivers United community made a strong statement this month when it spoke clearly in favor of clean water and healthy fisheries in the South Fork of the Salmon River basin. A large mining company is proposing three massive open pit mines at the headwaters of the East Fork of the South Fork of the Salmon River, a river prized for its fisheries and whitewater.
Five Northwest political leaders yesterday introduced legislation seeking to block a federal court order that requires increased protections for Idaho’s endangered salmon. “These five members of Congress have written a death warrant for endangered salmon,” said IRU Executive Director Kevin Lewis. “This bill must be stopped dead in its tracks.”
MJ Wright, Kaitlin Spradley and Kat Cannell are three Idaho women who rode horses almost 1,000 miles to reach their home waters of Redfish Lake. Their expeditionary ride highlights the iconic pathway of sockeye salmon, a native Idaho anadromous fish species that returns to spawn in the lake, and whose numbers have been dwindling since four dams were constructed on the lower Snake River in eastern Washington state.