Erin Mooney, Press Secretary 703-284-9408
FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE:
Trout Unlimited Supports Idaho Lt. Governor’s Suggestion for Salmon and Steelhead Recovery in the Upper Columbia River System
BOISE, ID—Idaho Lt. Gov. Jim Risch, while unveiling a joint proposal between his state and the U.S. Forest Service to manage roadless land on U.S. Forest Service land in Idaho, issued a challenge on Friday to the people of Idaho and the Northwest to use a collaborative process similar to the one used to solve the Idaho roadless controversy to recover salmon and steelhead in the upper Columbia River system.
“Lt. Gov. Risch is absolutely right,” said Chris Wood, chief operating officer of Trout Unlimited. “The path to long-term recovery of our upriver stocks of salmon and steelhead will depend on creating a forum where all the voices of the affected communities that rely on salmon and those that rely on the four lower Snake River dams can be heard.”
Risch, who is running for the U.S. Senate in Idaho, helped engineer a unique process, through which the bulk of Idaho’s 9 million acres of roadless Forest Service land will be protected for generations. The process, which involved months of public meetings and a lot of give and take among those interested in the management of those unique public lands, is something Risch said he would like to see put in place to solve the Northwest’s salmon crisis.
“The resolution of Idaho’s roadless controversy demonstrates that only by coming together and recognizing the shared values of all who are affected can you achieve lasting conservation,” Wood said. “This includes bringing the citizens of Lewiston, Idaho, together with the farmers of Eastern Washington and the commercial and recreational fishermen from all over the Northwest—without input from all who are impacted, we cannot make progress on this very important issue.”
Idaho is home the most inventoried roadless land in the Lower 48, and much of that intact, wild country includes perfectly healthy salmon and steelhead spawning streams. By protecting these headwater habitats, Idaho has solved one piece a very complicated puzzle. Now, Wood explained, it’s time for all the players in this vital issue to come together and work toward recovering upriver stocks of salmon and steelhead using the same collaborative approach that worked in Idaho.
“We must create a table large enough for everyone involved,” Wood said, “and we must begin work immediately before it’s too late.”
Trout Unlimited is North America’s leading coldwater fisheries conservation organization, with more than 140,000 members dedicated to the protection and restoration of trout and salmon fisheries and their watersheds.