Orca survival may be impossible without Lower Snake River dam removal, scientists say

Orca survival may be impossible without Lower Snake River dam removal, scientists say

Southern resident orcas that frequent Puget Sound may not survive without breaching the Lower Snake River dams to help the salmon the orcas live on, scientists say.

Leading killer-whale scientists and researchers are calling for removal of four dams on the Lower Snake River and a boost of water over the dams to save southern resident killer whales from extinction.

The scientists sent a letter Monday to Gov. Jay Inslee and co-chairs of a governor’s task force on orca recovery.

The whales need chinook — their primary prey — year round, scientists state in their letter, and the spring chinook runs in particular returning to the Columbia and Snake are among the most important. That is because of the size, fat content and timing of those fish, making them critical for the whales to carry them over from the lean months of winter to the summer runs in the Fraser River, the scientists wrote.

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The need for Columbia and Snake river fish is so acute, “we believe that restoration measures in this watershed are an essential piece of a larger orca conservation strategy. Indeed, we believe that southern resident orca survival and recovery may be impossible to achieve without it.”

Based on the science and the urgency of the current threats confronting the southern residents, the scientists recommended two top priorities for the task force in its recommendations for orca recovery: Immediately initiate processes to increase the spill of water over the dams on the Columbia and Snake, to create more natural river conditions, and to breach the Lower Snake River dams.

The letter comes as the death of three southern resident orcas in four months last summer, one from L pod and two in J pod, have added fuel to the long running-campaign to free the Snake.

 

Lower Snake River dam removal has been debated in the region for decades as a way to boost salmon runs. Three federal judges in a row in five rulings since 1994 also have called for an overhaul of hydropower operations by federal agencies at eight dams on the Columbia and Snake rivers to boost salmon survival, including a serious look at dam removal. The latest court review now underway will not be concluded until 2021.

However, the scientists called for urgent action now because the orcas are continuing to decline and need food. “Orca need more chinook salmon available on a year-round basis as quickly as possible,” the scientists wrote.

As orca advocates joined forces with dam busters, BPA has pushed back. In a recent press briefing, BPA managers said the Columbia and Snake produce only some of the fish the orcas use, and that the four Lower Snake River dams are important to the region.

The whales depend on chinook from rivers all over Puget Sound as well as the from the Fraser, Columbia and Snake rivers, a recent listing of fish runs important to the whales shows.

The first 15 salmon stocks on the priority list include fall, spring and summer Chinook salmon runs in rivers spanning from British Columbia to California, including the Fraser, Columbia, Snake and Sacramento rivers, as well as several rivers in Puget Sound watersheds.

Columbia and Snake rivers were once the biggest chinook producers in the world, but recovery efforts have been a long struggle.

Hatchery chinook recently have been surging, data from the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration shows. Yet even good returns are a fraction of historic numbers. Wild runs have remained far below the level of adult returns required for recovery — let alone to prevent extinction.

Signing the letter were Sam Wasser, director of the Center for Conservation Biology at the University of Washington, and Deborah Giles, who is resident scientist at the University of Washington Friday Harbor Labs and the science and research director for the nonprofit Wild Orca.

Their research shows a steady increase in mortality and orca pregnancy failure due to lack of adequate food. Today the orca population among the southern residents stands at just 74 individual whales — a 35-year low.

As early chinook runs have declined on the Fraser, Columbia River fish runs have become even more important, Wasser said. “If they didn’t have that Columbia River infusion, they would really be cooked. … The Columbia replenishes you, and sustains you until the Fraser peaks. I don’t think unless you have those Columbia runs you can save these whales.”

Also signing the letter was David Bain, chief scientist for the nonprofit Orca Conservancy, and Katherine Ayers and other scientists whose work has documented that vessel noise disrupts orca feeding. That disruption, as well as toxins in the food chain, are more harmful to orcas when they do not have enough food, because the orcas when hungry metabolize the toxins stored in their fat.

The letter comes as the governor’s task force on orca recovery is set to convene one of its last meetings before making its recommendations to Gov. Jay Inslee, due Nov. 16.

The meetings are scheduled for all day Wednesday and Thursday at the Tacoma Landmark Convention Center at 47 St. Helens Ave., in the Plaza Grand Ballroom.

The agenda includes three hours scheduled for public testimony between 5 and 8 p.m. on Wednesday. A summary of public comments shows a bigger consensus for Lower Snake River Dam removal than for any other action considered for orca recovery.


REBUTTAL OF ATTACKS ON I-1631

From Don and Alona Steinke

What about the exemptions to Initiative 1631?

According to Ahmed, Yes on 1631

The line used by the oil companies that 8 of the top 10 largest emitters are exempt is a lie and deception. The Seattle Times and King 5 both did Fact Checks on it saying it’s false. And in their endorsement of 1631 the Olympian called it out as “misleading”.

I-1631 covers 80% of the state’s climate pollution – that’s more than almost any other policy proposed in the nation.

The oil companies’ argument is that we’re going after fossil fuels not after biomass and pulp and paper.

That’s not an exemption, that’s just not what this initiative is about. This initiative is about getting us off a FOSSIL FUEL ECONOMY and onto a CLEAN ENERGY ECONOMY. If you want to regulate the pulp and paper industry next year, be my guest – I’ll fight alongside you, in fact I’ve been fighting them for years.

And so have endorsers of I-1631 like Stand.Earth, Greenpeace, The Sierra Club and many more! Nothing in I-1631 prevents us from hitting pulp and paper over their emissions. And in the overall scheme of our state those emissions are relatively minor – less than 10%.

Yes there are targeted exemptions for key industries like Aluminum, Steel and Concrete. Industries that here in Washington state are FAR LESS carbon intensive than their out of state counterparts, and provide Union Jobs.

If we want to build out clean options like light rail, wind and solar we need steel and concrete and aluminum. No one who is upset about those exemptions has been able to explain how buying those products from out of state where they have higher climate impacts and the climate impacts of shipping actually helps the climate.

Keeping those facilities in-state and investing in making them more efficient is smart policy, it’s good for our climate and our environment.


Join us Oct. 17th –

 

We will have a busy day this coming Wednesday, October 17th!

Chase Bank Action 11A-Noon at E. Wenatchee, 444 Valley Mall Parkway.  Chase (and Wells Fargo) can walk away from $1.48 billion in credit to Enbridge Line 3 on October 16th and $625 million in credit expiring Dec. 31st – we need to ENCOURAGE THEM to decline these credit renewals!

Then we’ll see Dan Newhouse Mobile Office at E. Wenatchee Library, 271 9th Street and give our support to recovering ORCA while the State Task Force meets.

We’ll end with lunch meeting at Mai Lee Thai, 595 Grant Road #6 in E. Wenatchee.

We’ll be supporting #youthvsgov – the upcoming Juliana v. United States trial Oct. 29th in Eugene at this bank action and again on Oct. 29th.


Hoorah!

Logo

Jeanne,

The first public poll on our campaign just came out.

It shows what we always have known:
1) I-1631 is leading among voters and it’s clear that Washingtonians want clean energy, clean air, and they don’t trust big oil.
 
2) This election is going to be CLOSE, but that we CAN win and defeat big oil and their money.
 
3) Undecided voters will come down to who they trust and every conversation we have with our neighbors, our friends, and at the doors is essential to help us win.
Close your eyes. Now imagine it’s 8 PM on election night and we’ve lost the election by 500 votes. Think about how you would feel, especially if there was something you could have done that you didn’t.

This election could be that close. But you can get to election night knowing you’ve done everything you possibly could. Sign up for as many shifts as you can through election day!

1. Find a canvass or phonebank near you here – We need to fill 1,500 more shifts!

2. Have some time in the evening? Sign up for a calling shift from home – we need to fill 1,000 more calling shifts

3. Spread the word by sending an email with VOTERCIRCLE – we need 25 more volunteers to use Votercircle

WEC/CV is now hosting weeknight phonebanks in downtown Seattle in the Vance building. Join them to make calls (rumor has it they have the best phonebanking snacks in town!)

Calling all Scientists for I-1631
Scientists across the state are organizing for supporting 1631. They’ve released an open letter you can sign onto.

60 scientists have signed the open letter so far. We’re hoping to get to 200. If you’re a scientist please sign it! If not, please pass it on to someone who is.

Share our new AD

Oil money is flowing in from Texas and we’re calling that out in our latest ad on TV and Social Media. Can you share it to help it get around?

Responding to Oily Lies
Big oil companies and the Koch Brothers are flooding our TVs and social media with lies about I-1631. The best way for us to push back is by having real conversations with voters.

Yesterday I sent all of you an email with some of our best tips to respond and this FAQ.

Remember the most effective response starts by 1) Naming the people who wrote our initiative like the American Lung Association, the Nature Conservancy, and the League of Women Voters and 2) pointing out that 5 big oil companies have already spent $20 Million because they don’t want to be held accountable for their pollution.

For many undecided voters their vote will come down to who they trust. Letting them know who wrote this and who is opposing it is the most effective way to win their vote.

SHARE this powerful message from Naomi Klein
In case you missed this powerful message from author Naomi Klein here it is! Please share this around social media and use it to help recruit your friends and family to volunteer!

Fiery endorsement from The Stranger!
“The first thing you need to know about I-1631 (henceforth referred to as “the carbon fee”) is that the SECB—an ungovernable collection of maladapted hacks who hate each other as much as they hate themselves—support it unanimously.”

Read the whole endorsement here.

Volunteer Resources!

1. Watch our canvass training video

2. Watch a recording of our canvassing/messaging webinar

3. Read our inspiring “Plan To Win” to learn exactly who we’re talking to, and the most important roles you can play.

4. Check out our calling guide and hop on the phones for I-1631!

Canvasses this weekend
This week we have canvasses from Walla Walla to Bellingham! Sign up for one of the canvasses below or check the map for the full list.

Endorsements this week 
If you know a group who might endorse 1631 email Lauren@yeson1631.org

  • The Stranger
  • Bill Gates
  • Macklemore
  • Van Jones
  • Naomi Klein
  • Congregation Eitz Or
  • City of Bremerton
  • City of Seattle
  • Washington Chapter of the American Academy of Pediatrics
  • Seattle Councilmember Lisa Herbold
  • Women of Color Speak Out
  • Na’ah Illahee Fund
  • Alki Bike and Board
  • Model Remodel
  • Bentler
  • Evergreen Certified LLC
  • Skagit Valley Food Coop
  • Laurie Jay
  • Skydain Botanicals
  • Dubsea Coffee
  • Evergreen Escapes
  • Woodland Park Zoo
  • Seattle Aquarium
  • Our Revolution San Juan County
  • Washougal City Councilmember Alex Yost
  • St Johns Apartments
  • St Johns Bar and Eatery
  • Other Coast Cafe
  • Ayutthaya Thai Restaraunt

In the Media

Top Canvassers for doors knocked  this week:

1000 club – Mason has some close competition!

  • Mason Rolph 1,539 – Olympia, WA
  • Andy Sorgen 1,365 – Everett, WA
  • Kristin Edmark 1,120 – Battleground, WA

500 club

  • Andrew Brinkhaus 990 – Issaquah, WA
  • Seth Mangold 769 – Hamilton, WA
  • Caryl Utigard 686 – Seattle, WA
  • Richard Lipsky 679 – Kenmore, WA
  • Don Steinke 672 – Vancouver, WA
  • Sasha Smith 659 – Bellingham, WA
  • Jasmine MacLean 625 – Olympia, WA
  • Rachel Malloy 619 – Redmond, WA
  • Connie Campbell 579 – Olympia, WA
  • Myra Harmer 536 – Bellingham, WA
  • Richard Voget 534 – Seattle, WA
  • Martha Sshammer 531 – Bellingham, WA
  • Neal Anderson 527 – Sammamish, WA
  • Carter Morfitt 522 – Olympia, WA
  • Chris Covert-Bowlds 500 – Seattle, WA

300 Club

  • Jim Cook 459- Tacoma, WA
  • Brian Emanuels 446 – Mercer Island
  • Larry Sukut 401 – Bremmerton
  • Barak Gale 399 – Olympia, WA
  • Doug Engebretson 380 – Tacoma, WA
  • Sarah Sachs 372 – Tacoma, WA
  • Derek Hanson 369 – Seattle
  • John Riley 365 – Carnation, WA
  • Alastair Dallas 353 – Seattle, WA
  • Wyatt Helin 353 – Seattle, WA
  • Daniel Kirkpatrick 349 – Bellingham, WA
  • Nancy Vandenberg 337 – Snohomish, WA
  • Nick Engelfried 335 – Bellingham, WA
  • Cathryn Chudy 328 – Vancouver, WA
  • Fred Suter 321 – Vancouver, WA
  • Heidi M Cody 316 – Vancouver, WA
  • Linda Cohan 316 – Tacoma, WA
  • Devon Kellogg 314 – Redmond, WA
  • Bill Angel 309 – Bellingham, WA
  • Deb Hagen-Lukens 308 – Seattle, WA
  • Karl Pauls 304 – Seattle, WA

Volunteer Highlight of the week:
Our volunteer highlight goes out to Bianca! She cares about clean air and clean energy for Washington! She’s out canvassing for I-1631 and so far has knocked on 50 doors!! Yes 50! Her goal is 100 doors before the election. Big turfs and asking voters to sign pledge cards don’t intimidate her!

Small Business Endorsements  – We have signs for small businesses and a goal of sweeping up 200 small business endorsements. Ask your favorite coffee shop, your yoga studio, or maybe you own your own small business. Email Lauren@yeson1631.org to request signs and we’ll mail them to you.

 

Write a letter to the editor (LTE)
Thanks to everyone who submitted letters to the editor last week! Remember the best letters are personal stories that explain why you believe in 1631, as opposed to policy explanations. We’ve created an LTE guide with some great samples Check it out here

You can also run your LTE’s by jack@yeson1631.org if you want feedback.

 

25 days. That’s what we have left. Let’s work like our future depends on it, because it does!

Sincerely,
Ahmed Gaya
Field Director, Yes On 1631
YesOn1631.org
4347 Roosevelt Way NE, Seattle, WA 98105
206-535-6617 (office)
773-960-2587 (cell)

Connect with other climate justice stewards by joining our SLACK Channel or our Facebook group.

Volunteer Code of Conduct:
Yes On 1631 Volunteers come from diverse backgrounds and experiences. To ensure everyone is respected and empowered on our campaign we’ve established a volunteer code of conduct. Please read it here.

 

Paid for by Clean Air Clean Energy WA

Contributions to Clean Air Clean Energy WA are not tax deductible.

All content © 2018 Clean Air Clean Energy WA, All Rights Reserved
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Top 5 contributors: The Nature Conservancy, League of Conservation Voters, Michael Bloomberg, William Gates, Sarah Merner

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response techniques!

Logo

Jeanne,

The oil industry is spending more than $20 Million to lie about initiative 1631.

But now lots of people have seen their misleading TV ads, gotten their mailers and seen their relentless posts on social media. Lots of you have emailed and called members of the campaign asking how to respond and rebut their lies. Here’s the best advice we have:

#1 – Lead with talking about who’s behind the lies.
Many people are genuinely confused and don’t know which side to trust. Our research shows most effective thing you can do to win over an undecided voter is to start by making sure they know that I-1631 is supported by groups who care about our community like the American Lung Association, The Nature Conservancy and the League of Women Voters and 99.9% of the NO Campaign’s funding is from Big Oil Companies. Just knowing that Big Oil is behind the attack ads moves more voters into our camp than anything else.

Read more at dontspoilwa.org

#2 – Remind folks that Big Oil is fighting to avoid accountability and protect their profits.
In addition to just reminding that Big Oil is funding the NO campaign, make sure they know WHY they are funding it. Big Oil Companies are spending millions of dollars lying about 1631 because they do not want us to hold them accountable and they don’t want to pay for their pollution.

Read more at dontspoilwa.org

#3 – Back yourself up with reputable sources and validators.
Some of our trusted partners have done a great job debunking big oil’s lies. Use their arguments and remember to context that the attack ads are from BIG OIL but actually the Union of Concerned Scientists or the Washington Budget and Policy Center say they’re lying.

Union of Concerned Scientists blog debunking No On 1631 arguments

Washington Budget and Policy Center study debunking No On 1631’s outrageous cost estimates

#4 Practice our frequently asked questions
The campaign’s communications team put together this great FAQ that’s on every canvasser’s clipboard. Check it out here.

#5 Focus on people who are genuinely confused or undecided, not folks who outright oppose
This is going to be a close election and we won’t be able to persuade everyone. Pick your battles, don’t worry about persuading every person you talk to. Focus on the folks who are actually confused or undecided not folks who are leaning against us. I know it can be hard, but it’s how we’re going to win!

#6 Hit the streets and talk to voters!
We’re doing everything we can to push back on the lies coming from big oil. This is going to be a CLOSE election and talking to voters directly is going to really make a difference. We have a plan to talk to 250,000 more voters before election day. Sign up for a canvass this week!

Remember if you need specific help you can always email our Deputy Communication Director Jack@yeson1631.org

Sincerely,
Ahmed Gaya
Field Director, Yes On 1631
YesOn1631.org
4347 Roosevelt Way NE, Seattle, WA 98105
206-535-6617 (office)
773-960-2587 (cell)

Connect with other climate justice stewards by joining our SLACK Channel or our Facebook group.

Volunteer Code of Conduct:
Yes On 1631 Volunteers come from diverse backgrounds and experiences. To ensure everyone is respected and empowered on our campaign we’ve established a volunteer code of conduct. Please read it here.

 

Paid for by Clean Air Clean Energy WA

Contributions to Clean Air Clean Energy WA are not tax deductible.

All content © 2018 Clean Air Clean Energy WA, All Rights Reserved
4​34‌7 Roo‌s​ev‌el‌t W‌ay N‌E, S‌ea​ttl‌e, W‌A 9​8‌1‌05
20‌6​-5‌35-​661‌7 | in‌fo@yes‌on16‌31.o‌rg | y‌eson1‌631‌.o‌r‌g
Top 5 contributors: The Nature Conservancy, League of Conservation Voters, Michael Bloomberg, William Gates, Sarah Merner

Privacy Policy


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