From the Save Our Wild Salmon Coalition: Contact Senator Feinstein Today - "Stop the attacks on salmon, fishing communities, and the ESA!"
Sample letter included
Read: What's at Stake
February 17, 2010 -- Please contact Senator Dianne Feinstein today! Ask her to stop her efforts to dismantle the Endangered Species Act's basic protections for California's endangered chinook salmon.
If passed into law, Senator Feinstein's rollback of protections for endangered salmon in California would have devastating implications for wild salmon and steelhead across West Coast, and all imperiled species across the nation.
Senator Feinstein is proposing an amendment to a federal jobs stimulus bill that, in effect, would suspend rules that protect salmon from being killed by the giant diversion pumps in the San Francisco-San Joaquin Delta and would pump more water from the estuary.
Senator Feinstein claims that this amendment will bring jobs to California. But, the closure of the western salmon fisheries has cost 23,000 jobs and $1.4 billion in the California economy.
Contact Senator Feinstein and ask her to stop killing salmon and the $1.4 billion fishing economy. Ask her not to put an amendment in the jobs legislation that would increase pumping from the Delta!
Thank you for your support and assistance!
Save Our Wild Salmon Coalition
Subject: Please Stop the Anti-Salmon, Anti-fishing Jobs Amendment!
Dear Senator Dianne Feinstein,
I urge you not to sponsor legislation restricting Endangered Species Act protections in California's Bay-Delta estuary. Waiving safeguards required under one of our nation's most important environmental laws would have disastrous consequences for one of America's most important ecosystems, California's endangered salmon fishery, and ESA projects across the country.
The amendment you have proposed to introduce would suspend critically important ESA protections for salmon - one of California's signature species - and many other endangered species in the San Francisco Bay-Delta, the lifeblood of the salmon fishery in California and much of Oregon. Over the past two years, this fishery has been shut down due to the collapse of Central Valley salmon populations. Thousands of jobs have been lost in California and Oregon, along with hundreds of millions of dollars in income, each year. Waiving ESA requirements could close the fishery permanently, with long-term job loss es and economic damage up and down the West Coast.
Salmon are not the only species at risk. Population levels of longfin and Delta smelt are so low that waiving ESA protections could result in the extinction of these species in as little as two years. As the Bay-Delta ecosystem collapses, many other species are not far behind.
The livelihoods of commercial and recreational salmon fishermen, Delta farmers, fishing guides, tackle shops, and communities across California and along the West Coast depend on the environmental protections that your proposed amendment would suspend. And most Californians support protections for endangered species and the people whose livelihoods are entwined with these wonderful creatures.
Please do not let the extinction of one or more endangered species - and the end of a way of life for people who depend on them - be your legacy. I urge you not to proceed with your proposed amendment.
California's Sacramento and San Joaquin Rivers (which drain into San Francisco Bay) are host to 4 separate populations of Chinook salmon -- two of them (winter and spring run) are listed as endangered. The rivers host a steelhead population and this is also listed as an endangered species. The once mighty Sacramento River Fall run Chinook salmon supported commercial fishing throughout California and Oregon, especially after the collapse of populations on the Klamath River. Yesterday, the Pacific Fisheries Management Council, which sets fishing season along the coast released a report that only 39,500 Sacramento River fall-run returned to spawn in the wild this year -- as recently as 2002, populations numbered near 800,000. This is the third record low population in as many years. Endangered winter and spring-run numbers were also gravely troubling as both populations numbered less than 5,000 fish. All of these declines came despite the complete and unprecedented closure of California's commercial and sport salmon fishing seasons over the past two years -- a terrible price paid by fishing communities across the coast in order to save the fish upon which they rely.
The Sacramento San Joaquin ecosystem is also home to two endangered smelt species, and one endangered sturgeon species. Populations of these and many other non-endangered species are in a state of freefall. Respected scientists conjectured that event the fall-run Chinook salmon population could soon be listed as an endangered species.
Amazingly, California's Senior Senator appears to be moving to eliminate protections for the salmon, steelhead, smelt, and sturgeon just as they need more protection from federal and state legislators. In an effort to blame California's employment woes on environmental protections, Senator Feinstein prepared a rider (amendment) to upcoming employment legislation that would suspend federal Endangered Species Act protections for wild salmon and steelhead for at least 2 years.
This suspension would be the death knell for California's once famous fishing fleet. Zeke Grader, executive director of the Pacific Coast Federation of Fishermen's Associations said, "salmon have been part of California for thousands of years and this report shows we're losing them. If we wipe our salmon out, we'll also be wiping out generations of fishing families from the central California coast to northern Oregon that have all relied on king salmon from the Sacramento River to make a living."
The suspension would also send an ominous message to all who work to protect a healthy environment so that it can provide food, jobs, and recreation for us all. If the Golden State is willing to write off its once-prized fishery (and numerous endangered species), it will mean a bleak future for all wild salmon and steelhead populations across our coast. Please write to California's Senator Feinstein and tell her that her amendment is short-sighted and unacceptable.
Ask her to Save Our Wild Salmon!