Our Southern Resident killer whales swim at the brink of extinction. We have lost three more members of their pod this year and the salmon returns to the Columbia and Snake Rivers are at historic lows.
The Southern Resident orca population - listed under the Endangered Species Act in 2005 - is in danger due to lack of food, vessel noise, and toxics. Starvation due to the decline of their primary food source: Chinook salmon is the dominant issue. Our Southern Residents make the trip south to the Columbia River to feed late winter and spring, which makes restoring salmon runs in the Columbia Basin of primary importance for orca recovery.
With our iconic Northwest species in dire straits - and with their fates intertwined - we cannot afford weak and ineffective recovery plans. In order to recover salmon and help our starving orca, we must think bigger. Restoring the Snake River and its abundant salmon is a cornerstone of any effective recovery strategy. Anything less fails the people of the Northwest, native wildlife, and sport, commercial and tribal fishing communities.
We must partner with all stakeholders to forge strong and effective solutions that work for salmon, orca, and communities. It's equally important to keep the Northwest invested in reliable and renewable energy, as well as keeping local communities economically vibrant.
Here at the Washington State Sierra Club, we pledge to not only protect our natural and urban environments, but also the species and communities that depend on them for survival.
(Select "Saving the Chinook Salmon and Southern Resident Orca" to get involved)