Idaho's wild salmon and steelhead are headed for extinction unless we choose a bold path to rebuild infrastructure in the Northwest.
Historically, the Snake River basin was the most productive salmon and steelhead habitat on the Columbia River. Within the current native distribution of salmon and steelhead on the West Coast, the 30,000 miles of stream habitat in the Snake River basin represents 50 percent of all coldwater habitat for salmon and steelhead in the lower 48. The lower Snake River hydrosystem causes outsized fish mortality the Snake River stocks. Over the last 30 years, runs have been decimated with severely curtailed and even cancelled fishing seasons.
At the urging of our members and partners, Rep. Mike Simpson (R-ID) has outlined a proposal that would create new clean energy sources, build new infrastructure, and ensure the needs of local communities, irrigators and shippers are met. The $34 billion proposal would also restore runs of healthy, harvestable Snake River salmon and steelhead by removing the lower four Snake River dams.
Ryan Callaghan is MeatEater's director of conservation. Ryan is a passionate member of the outdoor community, having grown up hunting and fishing, guiding, and playing in the West.
Aaron Lieberman is the executive director of the Idaho Outfitters & Guides Association, a statewide business trade association committed to the enhancement of quality outdoor experiences with, and conservation of, Idaho’s lands, waters and wildlife. He served on Governor Little’s Salmon Workgroup representing the outfitting and guiding industry. Aaron is a lifelong outdoorsman and professional rafting and fishing guide. He is committed to restoring the Snake River's wild salmon and the economic driver and cultural pillar they represent to Idaho's guiding industry and rural communities.
Brian Brooks is the executive director of the Idaho Wildlife Federation, Idaho’s oldest and largest statewide sporting conservation organization. He held a seat on the Idaho Governor’s Salmon Workgroup, representing the voices of Idaho’s sportfishermen and women in the 21-member collaborative group. Brian is an avid hunter and angler, with childhood memories of catching summer chinook on the South Fork of the Salmon River driving his work to restore Idaho’s wild salmon and steelhead.
Eric Crawford is TU’s North Idaho field coordinator. Eric’s work focuses on salmon and steelhead policy, engagement and outreach within the Snake River basin in addition to representing TU on the Clearwater Basin Collaborative. Prior to TU Eric worked for the Idaho Dept. of Fish and Game for 22 years with most of those years spent as a conservation officer. With years of experience interacting with Idaho’s hunting and angling public Eric has a unique perspective of what is important to sportsmen and women.
Julia Peebles is Backcountry Hunters & Anglers' government relations manager and located in the D.C. area. Julia grew up in the Midwest finding solace outdoors at an early age. Combining her enjoyment for hunting and fishing with her passion for policy led her to the conservation space. Julia handles BHA’s legislative priorities, including salmon and steelhead recovery.