Heart Breakingby Brianne Lee
The Daily Astorian, August 22, 2020
Orca need salmon, and salmon need something more than the final environmental impact statement. Critically endangered orca are largely ignored in the federal government's latest salmon plan.
Southern resident orca need many more salmon to survive, and even though the federal government and Northwest ratepayers have spent over $17 billion on salmon recovery efforts, no salmon or steelhead populations have been recovered. This spells disaster for many of the species who depend on these lower Snake River fish to survive, especially orca.
We're seeing orca populations sink toward extinction and it's heartbreaking. Right now, researchers have seen that at least three orca in the J pod are pregnant, which is exciting, but orca advocates are holding their breath, because without enough food 70% of orca pregnancies are lost, and half of the calves that are born die in the first two years. One of the pregnant orcas right now is J35, or Tahlequah, who carried her dead calf around the Puget Sound for 17 days in 2018.
We need salmon, orca need salmon, and orca and salmon need dam removal on the lower Snake River. It's past time for our political leaders to step up and develop a plan that restores the lower Snake River, recovers salmon and invests in our Northwest communities.
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