Leading Scientists Agree on Path Forward to Save Snake River Salmon

American Fisheries Society doubles down on the need to remove the dams to save critical wild populations of salmon and steelhead.


The American Fisheries Society (AFS) adopted a resolution urging policymakers to breach the four lower Snake River dams. AFS represents over 7,500 professional fishery scientists and resource managers across the Americas. Read the statement here.

The Snake River basin was once home to half of all Chinook salmon and steelhead in the Columbia Basin, but over time these populations have drastically diminished. The resolution doubles down on the need to remove the dams to save critical wild populations of salmon and steelhead: 

“It is clear that breaching the four lower Snake River dams is necessary to (1) substantially improve the probability of recovering these cultural and ecological keystone species to healthy and harvestable populations and (2) safeguard those fishes from extinction.” 

The resolution comes on the heels of the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA) report “Rebuilding Interior Columbia Basin Salmon and Steelhead” released in September 2022. In the report, NOAA confirmed an urgent need for dam removal as the foundation for salmon and steelhead recovery. 

Last year, Senator Patty Murray (D-WA) and Governor Jay Inslee set out a plan to recover Pacific Northwest salmon and steelhead, but the Biden Administration and Congress must take further action to protect these critical populations. AFS identified this urgent need in the recently adopted resolution: 

“If Snake River basin salmon and steelhead are to be saved, then policymakers and stakeholders at all levels will need to implement appropriate processes and funding provisions to breach the four dams on the Lower Snake River, as well as implement all necessary habitat rehabilitation.” 

The policy statement confirms the path forward: the lower four Snake River dams must go. 

 “This statement, by the professional society for fisheries across the Americas, is yet another strong and significant force connecting science to the clear need to remove these dams to save Snake River salmon and steelhead,” said Helen Neville, Trout Unlimited’s Senior Scientist. “The message from scientists and professionals could not be clearer: we must act now.”

Read the full AFS resolution here. 


Trout Unlimited is the nation’s oldest and largest coldwater fisheries conservation organization dedicated to caring for and recovering America’s rivers and streams so our children can experience the joy of wild and native trout and salmon. Across the country, TU brings to bear local, regional and national grassroots organizing, durable partnerships, science-backed policy muscle, and legal firepower on behalf of trout and salmon fisheries, healthy waters and vibrant communities.