On Monday, August 26th, Idaho Rivers United and many of our partners in conservation are fighting for our salmon and steelhead before the Ninth Circuit Court of Appeals during oral arguments in Seattle. We are fighting for the cool, clean water that these imperiled fish require.
Idaho Rivers United has been dedicated to our Guide Education program for over 15 years; this tradition allows us to build stronger relationships with river lovers from all over the United States. As the Outreach and Education Coordinator for Idaho Rivers United I was given the opportunity to travel along Idaho’s rivers educating guides for the last two months.
For The River’s,
Governor Brad Little convened his Salmon Work Group for their first meeting Friday, June 28, in Boise. His opening remarks rang hollow as he stated, “I remain unconvinced at this time that breaching the dams will recover salmon in Idaho. In order to keep this diverse group of stakeholders (together), we will put polarizing issues aside and focus on pragmatic, achievable solutions." IRU, and other conservation partners remain steadfast, however, that the work group must address dam breaching as a viable option in their deliberations. To not do so would be to ignore sound science on salmon hydrosystem mortality and invite the recycling of decades of failed recovery plans.
We are pleased with the recent announcement concerning the first meeting of the Governor’s Salmon Workgroup in Boise. Governor Little has assumed a position of leadership on the recovery of our native salmon and steelhead, an issue IRU has been passionately involved in for the last two and a half decades.
Last week a packed Boise State Andrus Center room listened in rapt attention as both Congressman Mike Simpson and Governor Brad Little spoke at a conference on energy, salmon, agriculture, and community. Restoring Snake River salmon and steelhead runs that are dangerously close to blinking out was the conference’s major theme. Meeting energy needs and maintaining agricultural ways of life were important caveats to the discussion.
On an advertising panel in Boise’s Camel’s Back Park, Midas Gold lays out the attractions of their proposed Stibnite Project located in the headwaters of the East Fork of the South Fork of the Salmon River. The advertisement claims the project will boost Idaho’s economy, provide employment opportunities, and restore fish migration to the nearby rivers and streams. Nowhere on the sign does Midas acknowledge that the Stibnite Project is a massive open-pit gold mining operation that will put a unique and cherished place at risk of losing its wild heart.
The Idaho Department of Fish and Game Commission recently closed Idaho’s steelhead season effective December 9, 2018. This is a challenging issue as we value our friends and supporters. We also realize that Idahoans make a good portion of their living from steelhead guiding during the lean winter months. Equally challenging is the deplorable state of Idaho’s wild salmon and steelhead species. We are now in year three of a dramatic downturn of returns and next year could be even worse. Idaho Rivers United would like to offer some clarification about this decision and what it means for Idaho’s communities and fish.