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Sierra Club Launches Radio Ads, Outreach to Call On Governors Gregoire, Kulongoski for Leadership in Recovering Salmon

- Effort raises profile of issue as salmon protection groups request more water in the Columbia and Snake Rivers for 2006 salmon migration -

SEATTLE - The Sierra Club this week energizes the Columbia and Snake River salmon public debate with a set of radio advertisements that will run in Washington and Oregon. The ads call on Governors Christine Gregoire (WA) and Ted Kulongoski (OR) to stand up for wild salmon and steelhead in developing a new court-mandated plan for the endangered fish and ensuring there's adequate water in the rivers for salmon to migrate. The Sierra Club is also aggressively contacting its members in the states by phone, mail and email.

Heralding the 200th anniversary of the Lewis and Clark expedition's arrival in Washington and its winter in Oregon, the ads recall that the Columbia and Snake Rivers were once teeming with millions of salmon. Those fish sustained native communities for thousands of years, and helped Lewis and Clark themselves survive their sometimes brutal journey. Wild salmon runs are now at one per cent of their historic numbers, and falling. Early estimates indicate that salmon returns in 2006 will decline for the fifth year in a row.

"As the region commemorates the anniversary of the Lewis and Clark expedition, it's time for our Governors and congressional delegation to make a strong stand to protect these disappearing fish," said Adair Dammann, Director of the Sierra Club's NW/Alaska regional office. "The Bush administration and federal agencies have failed in their legal obligation to recover our wild salmon. It's time for our region's public officials to be leaders in recovering these fish that sustain our communities."

This Thursday, federal Judge James Redden will hear requests from a broad coalition of environmental groups - including the Sierra Club - commercial and recreational fishermen, and the treaty tribes of the Columbia and Snake Rivers to help salmon by ensuring there is adequate water in the river during critical migration periods.

Judge Redden last spring declared the most recent Federal Salmon Plan illegal, saying that the Bush administration's plan did not meet its obligations under the Endangered Species Act. This summer, the Judge ordered extra spill over the dams that make up the hydrosystem to help baby salmon arrive safely at the ocean in 2005. The judge has given the federal agencies, states and treaty tribes one year to develop a new plan that will use the best available science to put in place strategies that will recover wild salmon and steelhead to fishable numbers. Now, the coalition is requesting at this week's hearing that the judge order more spill over the dams and more water in the river for 2006, while they are developing the new plan.

"Salmon are a huge economic and cultural resource in our region, and the Bonneville Power Administration is trying to balance their books on the backs of salmon," said Dammann. "For more than a decade, the federal agencies responsible for recovering these fish have put politics over science, spent money on failed actions like trucking salmon around the dams, and ignored investments like removing the four lower Snake River dams, and improving river operations and habitat that will make for a safer, healthier river that recovers salmon. We're counting on our regional leaders to put politics aside, and help find administrative solutions that will work for our fish, our economy, and our communities."

The advertisements begin today and will run through December 15th in the Salem, OR and Olympia, WA markets. The script is below, MP3 files are available on request.

:60 second ad

200 years ago this month, Lewis and Clark wintered in the Northwest. They marveled at the millions of salmon that crowded the Columbia and Snake rivers. Salmon sustained the people then - and they still do: Salmon-dependent jobs contribute more than $1 billion to our economy.

But now wild salmon are in trouble.

And even though there are answers, the Bush administration has put politics above science,

utility company interests above protecting salmon.


As we mark the bicentennial of Lewis and Clark expedition, we ask Governor Ted Kulongoski/Chris Gregoire to work to ensure there's enough water in these rivers, that our hydro-system is managed to allow salmon to migrate, and that working with the treaty tribes, a new legal plan is developed to fully recover wild salmon and their habitat.

Call Governor Gregoire at (360) 902-4111/Govenor Kulongoski at 503.378.4582 and ask her/him to stand up for our wild salmon. Our economy, our communities, and our heritage depend on it.

Paid for by the Sierra Club Cascade Chapter.

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The Sierra Club is the nation's oldest and largest grassroots environmental organization. For more of the latest news, please visit http://www.sierraclub.org/pressroom/

Kathleen Casey

Senior Regional Representative

Sierra Club

180 Nickerson Street #202

Seattle, WA 98109

206-378-0114 x 305

** protect, enjoy and preserve the NW **