White House Memo Establishes Salmon Restoration as Biden Priority

Presidential order directs federal agencies to use authorities to restore Columbia Basin salmon

Ian Brickey, ian.brickey@sierraclub.org

WASHINGTON, D.C. -- Today, the Biden Administration announced watershed abundance goals for salmon recovery in the Columbia River Basin, identifying restoration of the species as a policy priority.

The presidential memo directs agencies to pursue policies and budgets to achieve the goal of salmon restoration. Notably, the White House has directed the Council on Environmental Quality and the Office of Management and Budget to create formal partnerships with sovereigns in the Columbia River Basin, a key step in Tribal consultations and community involvement to advance the work.

A fact sheet, which was released in coordination with today’s announcement, laid out administrative goals for a healthy and abundant salmon population in the region. The Administration’s goal is not just ESA level recovery, but harvestable abundance.

In response, Sierra Club Executive Director Ben Jealous, released the following statement:

“This memo is a milestone in the effort to restore Pacific Northwest Salmon populations from the brink of destruction.

“Not only are salmon a keystone species for the Columbia Basin – they’re a way of life for the Tribes of the Pacific Northwest who call themselves the salmon people. It is critical that Tribal communities be thoroughly consulted and their voices heard at every step of this restoration effort.

“Right now, those voices are clear and unified: salmon populations cannot flourish as long as the four lower Snake River dams stand. Last year’s report from Sen. Murray and Gov. Inslee confirmed this. Now is the time for bold action, to invest in the clean energy, transportation, and agriculture solutions that will allow for a real and lasting salmon recovery.

“The White House has made it clear that salmon recovery is a key priority, and we call on the administration to work with elected officials, community stakeholders, and Tribal Nations to stop this extinction.”

About the Sierra Club

The Sierra Club is America’s largest and most influential grassroots environmental organization, with millions of members and supporters. In addition to protecting every person's right to get outdoors and access the healing power of nature, the Sierra Club works to promote clean energy, safeguard the health of our communities, protect wildlife, and preserve our remaining wild places through grassroots activism, public education, lobbying, and legal action. For more information, visit www.sierraclub.org.