Biden Administration Agreement: Step Toward Comprehensive Solution for Columbia Basin Salmon and Energy Infrastructure 

Credit: Josh Duplechian / Trout Unlimited

Biden Administration Agreement: Step Toward Comprehensive Solution for Columbia Basin Salmon and Energy Infrastructure 


Today, the Biden Administration announced a 10-year partnership with tribes and states to restore wild salmon, expand clean energy production, increase resilience, and provide energy stability in the Columbia River Basin. Trout Unlimited applauds the decades-long, unfaltering commitment from the four sovereign tribal nations, the states, and other litigants to recover salmon across the Columbia Basin and Snake River Basin. 

Trout Unlimited has long supported a comprehensive solution to recover wild salmon and steelhead. A comprehensive solution which includes breaching the four lower Snake River dams, upholds tribal treaty rights, updates our aging energy infrastructure, restores coldwater habitat, replaces the benefits of the dams, and recovers wild salmon and steelhead. Trout Unlimited staff and volunteers who live and work in these communities are committed to ensuring everyone in the region is made whole.  

“For almost 100 years, the federal energy system has thrived at the expense of the Northwest Tribes whose ancestorial lands were submerged and traditional food source decimated. Further, billions of dollars of failed mitigation costs have been passed onto working- and middle-class ratepayers throughout the region. The federal government cannot continue prioritizing the competitive position of the Bonneville Power Administration at the expense of tribes, ratepayers, and salmon. This agreement is a step towards a brighter future that includes a comprehensive solution to restore the Snake River basin.” – Lindsay Slater, Vice President of Government Affairs at Trout Unlimited 

This agreement is a step towards salmon recovery and upholding our commitment to Northwest tribes, but time is running out. We must urgently act instead of standing idly by while our wild salmon slip into extinction. Northwest tribes are leading the way – offering innovative energy solutions that protect wild fish and our regional economy. But Congress must decide to move quickly to create a comprehensive solution that moves the Northwest forward and saves salmon. 

“This is another brick in the road to recovery of snake river salmon and steelhead,” said Chris Wood President and CEO of Trout Unlimited. “The first brick was laid by Congressman Mike Simpson (R-ID), who demonstrated that we could meet all the social and economic needs of those who depend on the dams and still recover salmon. The second brick was the Murray-Insley report. The third brick was laid by NOAA fisheries scientists who said that the only way we could ever recover these fish would be through removing the four lower Snake River dams. This all leads to an essential question for the Pacific Northwest: do we want a future with wild salmon and steelhead? We can replace every benefit provided by the dams, but the fish? They need a river.”