McMorris Rodgers, Newhouse Celebrate Strong Salmon Returns, Seek to Build on Progress to Restore Chinook

Washington, D.C. (June 21, 2021) – Eastern Washington Congresswoman Cathy McMorris Rodgers (WA-05) and Congressman Dan Newhouse (WA-04) today released the following statement in response to the strong Spring Chinook salmon run for the Snake River:

“The latest data for the Snake River Spring Chinook returns are encouraging and demonstrate that we are making real strides with our current mitigation efforts. Despite radical environmental groups trying to paint a dire picture of extinction, Spring Chinook returns are trending in the right direction for a second year in a row, proving what we already know: dams and salmon can – and do – co-exist. This year’s significant return increase builds on the progress we made last year and is a strong rebuke of hydropower opponents. 

“We should also celebrate three new orca calves in the Southern Resident pod! According to researchers, with the healthy calves, the pod looks better than it has in a decade. Our goal will continue to be recovering salmon by addressing threats of predation, loss of habitat, and untenable conditions of the ocean and Puget Sound. Together, we can restore our salmon and save the orcas, while also protecting the benefits our dams provide for our region and the leading source of Washington state’s clean, reliable, renewable, and affordable energy.”

The latest data from the University of Washington’s Columbia Basin Research shows that Spring Chinook returns increased by 27 percent over 2020 returns, which is also a 55 percent increase over 2019 data. With nearly 30,000 salmon passing the Lower Granite Dam this year alone, Spring Chinook returns have now increased for the second straight year, continuing a positive trend.

Graphic: Washington Policy Center 

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