California's last runs of wild salmon, and the fishermen who depend on them, are in crisis. The devastating drought that has wreaked havoc on the State's ability to allocate water for all its uses has been especially brutal to these majestic fish. Low river flows and high water temperatures make it virtually impossible for baby salmon to migrate out of the once-mighty Sacramento River and into the Pacific Ocean.
For the fishing families, businesses and communities in California, Oregon and Washington that catch California King salmon, the harvest is getting ever more grim.
Sadly, federal legislative efforts to address the impacts of the drought could worsen the problems facing salmon and the fishing community. We need your help to tell our West Coast Senators that you want to see local, sustainable, wild-caught salmon on your dinner plate.
Congress is considering two bills, H.R. 2898 (Valadao) and S. 2533 (Feinstein), that are supposed to relieve the effects of the drought for all Californians, but that really direct water away from where salmon need it most. Although Senator Feinstein's bill has several provisions that are important steps toward water sustainability in California, both bills would weaken current protections for struggling salmon runs, and encourage construction of new salmon-killing dams.
These bills reinforce the myth that there have to be water winners and water losers in the fight over King Salmon and California's water. But it doesn't have to be that way.
Let's ask our West Coast Senators to take a step back and look at what we can accomplish when we put our heads together. Senator Feinstein took bold steps in her bill by asking that we work toward water efficiency, recycling, and reuse. Congressman Huffman proposed a bill (H.R. 2893) that includes even more drought innovations that can meet the needs of salmon, farms and cities. Let's use those sustainability provisions as a template for a real drought solution. Let's keep protecting our precious salmon resource when it needs it most: during the drought.
Join us today by asking our West Coast Senators to focus on water sustainability innovations and salmon protections in any California drought relief bill, and to fight back against the myth that the drought demands water winners and water losers. Tell our Senators to dump the current drought bills and to insist on a drought solution for California's cities, farms and salmon.
We are the Pacific Coast Federation of Fishermen's Associations. We are the working men and women of the commercial salmon fishing community whose livelihood depends on strong salmon runs from free-flowing rivers. We work to ensure that our fish remain a sustainable resource, and that fishing remains a sustainable way of life.
Please focus on water sustainability innovations and salmon protections in any California drought relief bill, and to fight back against the myth that the drought demands water winners and water losers. H.R. 2898 and S. 2533 do not offer the necessary protections for California's salmon when they need those protections most. I support a drought future where cities, farms, and fishermen all enjoy the fruits of water sustainability - a future that's possible with water efficiency, recycling, recapture and other innovations that don't entrench unsustainable water politics. Thank you for standing up for sustainability, innovation, and natural resource stewardship in seeking drought solutions.
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