VIDEO: Rally for the River seeks support for saving orcas by saving salmon via dam-breaching

(WSB photos/video)

This weekend, Elliott Bay is open to chinook-salmon fishing. So fishing boats were on the water this morning while activists gathered on land to demand action they say can keep the chinook from going extinct, along with another species of mammals that needs them even more than we do – the Southern Resident Killer Whales. Specifically, the Endangered Species Coalition and other groups want four dams on the Lower Snake River in Eastern Washington breached so chinook salmon can reach spawning grounds more easily. This weekend they hosted “Rally for the River” gatherings in six spots around the Northwest, and the rally spot in Seattle was just west of Seacrest. Some supporters came from afar:

Those two are members of the North Olympic Orca Pod, from Port Townsend and Port Angeles. The sign mentioning the Elwha refers to a dam removal project from last decade, considered a success. But that was just part of the puzzle for saving chinook salmon. Four hydropower dams on the Snake River in eastern Washington must be breached, advocates say, before it’s too late (read the backstory here). Time is ticking, with the presumed death of another Southern Resident orca K21. A moment of silence for him was part of the speaking program at the rally, featuring representatives of the Endangered Species Coalition, Duwamish Tribe, Environment Washington, and Orca Conservancy.

It’s not a matter of demolishing the dams, they contended – “All we have to do is move some gravel aside and let them run free.”

After speeches, some rally participants kayaked to Jack Block Park

… while others walked.

They’re particularly looking for support from Washington’s U.S. Senators Patty Murray and Maria Cantwell, and have a take-action webpage here. The politicians, for their part, have said that any plan for the dams must address other factors too, such as electricity generation and farmers’ needs.

8 Replies to "VIDEO: Rally for the River seeks support for saving orcas by saving salmon via dam-breaching"

  • anonyme August 8, 2021 (6:26 am)

    And/or just ban Chinook salmon fishing to humans.  Humans do not need Chinook salmon to survive; southern resident orcas do.  It’s that simple.  With neither politicians nor fishermen willing to make the smallest sacrifice in order for another species to survive, I fear they will be lost.

    • Tony August 8, 2021 (10:26 am)

      100% uneducated response.Fishermen actually are the orcas biggest ally in ripping dams down, salmon preservation and hatchery production.

      • anonyme August 8, 2021 (1:57 pm)

        Perhaps your education did not include simple math or logic, but you don’t get bigger numbers through subtraction.   There are many factors that have contributed to the decline of salmon numbers, but years of over-fishing is the biggest.  This is the same nonsense argument that big game hunters like the Trump brothers use to justify hunting African wildlife.  It’s nonsense.  If fisherman want measures taken to enhance salmon numbers, it’s not to save orcas.  It’s to save their bottom line.

        • Biology 101 August 9, 2021 (10:52 am)

          I guess your education missed biology.  Salmon reproduce in spawning grounds upriver.  If dams block their access the salmon die before they can lay and fertilize the eggs.  This reduces the supply of salmon.So you while are right, you don’t get bigger numbers by subtracting.  You also don’t get bigger numbers by not subtracting.  You do get bigger numbers by adding.  Salmon are added in spawning grounds.  Dams block access to spawning grounds.  Dams reduce the supply of salmon.If you banned fishing of salmon they’d still be in danger because the dams would still be blocking their ability to reproduce.This is elementary school stuff.Salmon is a traditionally abundant source of food for humans and animals for thousands of years in this area.  If they had access to spawning grounds then fishing would be manageable.

  • Noanonyme August 8, 2021 (2:55 pm)

    I don’t think there’s any reason to bring baseless claims about a family and something they may not have done as the rationale or lack of rationale as to why to save salmon here in the PNW. Clearly it’s overfished but not by recreational fisherman and women. Read up on this article by Forbes regarding the Trump brothers you mentioned earlier.

  • Kathy August 8, 2021 (4:07 pm)

    It is urgent that we reduce our dependence on fossil fuels to prevent rapid warming of the atmosphere, oceans, lakes/reservoirs. Marine life will not be able to survive unless we do so. As we transition from fossil fuels and rely more on clean electricity, what will replace the hydropower capacity that will be lost if these dams are breached? 

  • For orca mammas August 8, 2021 (7:49 pm)

    My heart is heavy for the loss of K21. So shameful we’re causing these magnificent southern resident orcas to starve in our waters.

    Appreciate this event and those involved, and thanks WSB for covering this.

    Now, everyone else who is also concerned, please take some action to help, before it’s too late.

  • Derek August 9, 2021 (3:33 pm)

    Only natives should be allowed to fish in these rivers

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