President Obama has an opportunity to protect both the Endangered Species Act (ESA) and the one-of-a-kind salmon of the Snake River. On May 20th, the administration will release its salmon plan for the iconic Columbia and Snake Rivers, once the most abundant salmon watershed in the world. By setting the protection and restoration bar drastically low for species already on the brink of extinction, this plan could weaken ESA protections for every endangered species in the nation.
The Columbia-Snake Rivers may not be in your backyard, but the effects of this decision will be.
These one-of-a-kind salmon are fighting right now to survive - tackling a gauntlet of dams, escaping predators and climbing higher than any salmon on Earth. They're doing their part. Now let's do ours.
Take action today to save salmon and protect America's endangered species.
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In a speech before the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service in 2009, you rightly stated that "For more than three decades, the Endangered Species Act has successfully protected our nation's most threatened wildlife, and we should be looking for ways to improve it - not weaken it." I urge you now to make the right choice for Columbia-Snake River salmon. It's time to live up to your word. Strengthen the ESA, don't weaken it.
Snake River salmon return to the highest salmon-spawning habitat on earth, and the largest intact wilderness habitat left in the continental United States. They represent our nation's best chance to recover salmon in a changing climate. These fish are fighting right now to survive. They're doing their part. Now let's do ours.
Unfortunately, to date, the U.S. government, including your Administration, has done very little to protect these iconic species. The actions you take - or don't take - on this river provide a window into the values and priorities your administration holds regarding science-driven policy and the Endangered Species Act.
We - our generation - are the ones who will decide whether these one-of-a-kind creatures continue to exist for our children and for generations to come. I urge you to maintain your commitment to protecting the ESA and make the recovery of Snake River salmon part of your legacy. After more than two decades and $10 billion worth of failure, it's time for a new approach. Please develop a salmon plan now that takes all the steps necessary to ensure the protection and restoration of wild Columbia and Snake River salmon and strengthens the Endangered Species Act.
Thank you for your time and consideration of this important issue.