On this day 22 years ago, struggling Chinook salmon and winter steelhead in Oregon’s Willamette River first received protection under the umbrella of the Endangered Species Act (ESA). Their “threatened” status was alarming because population numbers were so low, but it also brought hope that swift action would soon turn the tide to protect these culturally beloved species and the river they depend on.
Today, these fish are still in peril. Multiple tall dams—operated by the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers—stand in their way. These concrete walls combined with the Corps’ slow, disjointed, and disastrous response to ESA listing keep pushing the fish closer to extinction. The Corps wastes time and dollars deflecting their duty while life in the Willamette River fades further away.
This is why we turn to Congress. Our elected representatives can dictate action with legislation, but also by directing funding to where it matters. Over the next few weeks, we will spotlight an issue and ask you—Guardians members and supporters—to send an email urging members of Congress to use their power through appropriations (the annual funding allocation process) to make a difference. Your voice matters!
Whether you live in Oregon’s Willamette Valley or California’s Imperial Valley, ask Congress to fund ESA recovery activities that make a real difference for Chinook salmon and steelhead. ESA listing 22 years ago sounded the alarm and provided initial protections, but it's now beyond time for the Corps to take meaningful action. Send an email today.
For thousands of years, Chinook salmon migrated from the ocean, spawning and dying in the streams of their birth, the nutrients held in their bodies feeding forests, wildlife, and people. We cannot allow the fabric of Northwest cultures and ecosystems to disintegrate in our time. Contact your members of Congress today.