Contact your Politicians

Supporters of Southern Resident Killer Whales—we are asking you to take action to keep the whales from being dammed to extinction. We need to convince President Obama and our Washington State Representatives to support breaching the four lower Snake River dams, to give the Southern Residents a fighting chance at surviving and recovering. Hand crafted letters (handwritten or typed) sent by U. S. Mail are particularly effective in persuading politicians to take a stance. Below the addresses are some talking points. Make the letters your own and be respectful and succinct. Thank you!

President Donald Trump
1600 Pennsylvania Avenue NW
Washington, DC 20500
Send a message
202-456-1111

Office of Governor Jay Inslee
PO Box 40002
Olympia, WA 98504-0002
Send a message
360-902-4111

Office of U.S. Senator Maria Cantwell
511 Hart Senate Office Building
Washington, D.C. 20510
Send a message
206-220-6400

Office of U.S. Senator Patty Murray
154 Russell Senate Office Building
Washington, D.C. 20510
Send a message
206-553-5545

Some important points for discussion. The main issue is that there is an executive order out there to breach the lower four Snake River dams. We must show the above our support.

  • The endangered Southern Resident Killer Whales support a $60-$75 million dollars per year whale watch industry in Washington State.
  • Approximately 75%- 80% of the Southern Resident orcas’ diet is chinook salmon.
  • Increasing chinook salmon for these whales is the most certain way to increase the orcas’ chances of survival.
  • The Columbia-Snake River basin once produced more salmon than any other river system in the world. Historically, the Snake River watershed produced about half of all salmon in the basin. Today, only about 1% of the historic number of fish returns to the watershed to spawn.
  • According to NOAA Fisheries, “[p]erhaps the single greatest change in food availability for resident killer whales since the late 1800s has been the decline of salmon in the Columbia River basin,” into which the Snake River flows.
  • The historical ability of the Snake/Columbia watershed to produce enormous salmon runs gives these rivers the most potential for again producing great chinook runs, which would enable the Southern Resident orcas to survive.
  • While the lower Snake River dams are far from the coast, the Snake/Columbia dams are a major cause of the decline of the salmon runs. Nat’l Wildlife Fed’n v. Nat’l Marine Fisheries Serv., 839 F. Supp. 2d 1117, 1131 (D. Or. 2011)
  • The Southern Residents spend more than half their time in coastal waters. Their visits to the coastal waters off Westport, Washington and the mouth of the Columbia River coincide with high concentrations of spring Chinook salmon.
  • Research indicates that the whales are likely to be especially reliant on the Columbia/Snake River watershed’s early spring, nutrient-rich chinook salmon runs. Ayres KL, et al. (2012) Distinguishing the Impacts of Inadequate Prey and Vessel Traffic on an Endangered Killer Whale (Orcinus orca) Population. PLoS One 7: e36842, pp. 7-9, http://journals.plos.org/plosone/article?id=10.1371/journal.pone.0036842.
  • Scale samples collected in the winter months from Southern Residents foraging off the Washington coast conclusively show that the orcas are feeding on Upper Columbia and Snake River chinook in the winter months. (Brad Hanson, NOAA Fisheries, unpublished data.)
  • Breaching the four lower Snake River dams would open up more than 140 miles and 15 million acres of high quality habitat for salmon, greatly increasing a critical food source for the Southern Resident orcas.
  • The Elwha River dam removal project is showing the world how rapidly a free flowing river can restore its watershed, and how rapidly salmon and other wildlife will return to an undammed river.
  • Free-flowing rivers, abundant and sustainable salmon, and wildlife watching opportunities are precious to our natural and national history. Please leave a legacy for future generations in the Pacific Northwest.