Idaho's free-flowing rivers and wild salmon need your help

IRU Executive Director Kevin Lewis

IRU Executive Director Kevin Lewis

Idaho Rivers United was founded 28 years ago this summer with a mission “To protect and restore the rivers of Idaho.” For nearly three decades, IRU has strongly advocated for taking better care of the many wonderful rivers throughout the state, rivers that support diverse populations of fish and wildlife as well as providing for the needs of a growing population.

Unfortunately, we still face some of the same challenges that led to the creation of IRU. Our populations of wild salmon and steelhead still hover on the brink of extinction and, to many, progress toward restoring these iconic fish appears to be glacial at best.

Fortunately, we are making progress. Over the last several years a rapidly changing energy picture in the American West coupled with a long-term decrease in navigation on the lower Snake River has caused massive economic stress to the status quo. One of IRU’s goals over the next couple of years is to capitalize on the changing economics of maintaining four high-cost,  low-value dams that are destroying Idaho’s keystone salmon and steelhead species.

Please do not lose faith; gradually, we are winning this fight! We know this by the greatly increased resistance from the supporters of the status quo. Over the last year, several bills were introduced in congress that, if passed, would erase the gains of the last 20-plus years. I am happy to report that, so far, these bills have been bottled-up in committee.

To be successful in this increased effort to save Idaho’s salmon we need two things: your voice and your financial support. We need your voice to help sway Idaho’s congressional delegation and our governor to speak out in favor of Idaho salmon when the time is right. And we need your financial support. While IRU has always been lean and effective, we need to raise the money to support our growing salmon workload.