Idaho Outfitters and Guides are working to restore salmon and steelhead runs to Idaho's Snake River Basin.

Idaho has three species of native, wild, sea-run (all the way to the Pacific and back!) salmonids: sockeye, Chinook, and steelhead trout. Coho were reintroduced to Idaho in the 1990s from Lower Columbia stocks after being declared extirpated in 1986. Historically, the Snake River Basin was one of the most productive salmon and steelhead watersheds in the world, spawning millions of Chinook, Sockeye, Coho and steelhead every year. Idaho's salmon and steelhead populated watersheds from the temperate rainforests of the Clearwater to the high alpine valleys of the Salmon to the sagebrush deserts of the Owyhee, Bruneau, and Jarbridge Rivers. During their upstream migrations, they turned the rivers silver and red, and brought vast and priceless quantities of marine nutrients to inland ecosystems. Since time immemorial, indigenous tribes in the Pacific Northwest stewarded these salmon runs, relying on them for both physical and cultural nourishment.

In the 20th Century, the Army Corps of Engineers built eight massive dams on the Lower Snake and Columbia Rivers. These dams were intended to provide electricity, barge transportation, and ultimately economic development to the Pacific Northwest. Now, they drain public dollars, strangle river economies, and drive our salmon and steelhead to extinction. The four dams on the Lower Snake River are particularly noxious – decimating salmon runs from the most productive rivers left in the Lower 48. 

Despite their soaring economic and environmental costs, dam proponents continue to spread misinformation, claiming the Lower Snake River Dams are necessary to grain and energy markets. In reality, the heavily-subsidized barge transportation is in steep decline, and the energy produced by the dams is limited, environmentally damaging, and increasingly uncompetitive. 

Our livelihood and our communities rely on these keystone species, and we have seen over and over again how declining runs hurt rural Idaho river towns. We also understand our responsibility as guides to steward and protect the ecosystems we draw so much from. 

We have the science, the technology, and the resources to remove the Lower Snake River dams, replace their services, and restore the Snake River Basin. All we lack is the political will to undertake the greatest river restoration in history. 

Idaho Outfitters and Guides are working to restore salmon and steelhead runs to Idaho's Snake River Basin. | Pages | OctoberCMS