Stop-gap measures at dams needed to aid migrating Columbia-Snake salmon

American Rivers statement on injunction request for additional spill and reservoir drawdowns

July 16, 2021
Contact: Amy Souers Kober, 503-708-1145

American Rivers joined a coalition of fishing and conservation groups represented by Earthjustice, filing an injunction request in court today for stop-gap measures to aid migrating endangered salmon and steelhead. 

The request calls for “spilling” water over dams on the Columbia and Snake rivers to help flush juvenile fish downstream during a critical stage in their lifecycle as they migrate to the ocean. The groups are also seeking lowered reservoir levels to help speed fish migration through stagnant reservoirs that can reach lethally high temperatures.

Tom Kiernan, President and CEO of American Rivers, made the following statement:

“Salmon in the Columbia and Snake rivers are in crisis. Northwest tribes and salmon-dependent communities have been inequitably bearing the burden as dam operations and climate change drive salmon closer to extinction. With soaring temperatures putting additional stress on endangered salmon, short-term measures like additional spill are essential to their survival. We must also take bold and urgent action to build a better future in the Northwest that includes healthy and abundant salmon runs. That means heeding the calls of the Nez Perce Tribe, the Affiliated Tribes of Northwest Indians and the National Congress of American Indians for a comprehensive solution that invests in salmon and river restoration including removing the four lower Snake River dams, strengthens the region and honors treaties and commitments to Native people.”