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Young People Gather to Save NW Salmon, Call for Dam Removal

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Friday, June 3, 2022   

Young people are leading the charge this weekend in the call to remove four dams conservation groups believe will aid the survival of salmon in the Northwest.

The rally and march for salmon and orca take place on Saturday in Seattle, to urge Washington state leaders to remove four lower Snake River dams.

Owen Begley-Collier, a junior at Roosevelt High School in Seattle who is helping host the event with his group, Snake River Savers, said orcas have been one of his great loves since he was a kid, but he is worried about their future.

"Ever since four federal dams were put up on the lower Snake River, the wild salmon population has plummeted," Begley-Collier pointed out. "Which has deprived these ecosystems and communities."

Gov. Jay Inslee and Sen. Patty Murray, D-Wash., plan to release their recommendations for the lower Snake River dams by July 31. Conservation groups have encouraged the public to reach out to them to suggest breaching the dams. Supporters of the dams argued they are important for energy production, barging and irrigation.

Begley-Collier stressed it would take action beyond voting to remove the dams.

"If you vote someone in that you think aligns with your values, but you don't actually hold them accountable to do what you want them to do, they're not going to take action unless you put pressure on them and do more than just vote," Begley-Collier contended. "I think as young people, we've sort of realized that, because we can't do that yet."

Begley-Collier noted Inslee and Murray have promised salmon will not go extinct on their watch, and he believes they need to back up the claim.

"The scientific consensus is, and has been for decades now, that the only way to make sure that these species do not go extinct is to breach the Snake River dams," Begley-Collier asserted. "The only way to make that you are not lying about that is to breach the Snake River dams. That is the only option left."

The event begins at 11 a.m. at Central Lutheran Church Hall. Other organizations involved with the rally include the Endangered Species Coalition, Save Our Wild Salmon and the Washington Environmental Council.

Disclosure: The Endangered Species Coalition contributes to our fund for reporting on Endangered Species and Wildlife. If you would like to help support news in the public interest, click here.


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