I’ve never considered myself much of a runner, but two weeks ago, I put on a t-shirt with Run for Salmon Runs printed on it, laced up and ran for 14 miles. And I felt like every step I took was for salmon, and, in return, our orcas.
The Southern Resident orcas that call the Puget Sound home are starving. Their primary food source, Chinook salmon are experiencing a steady decline in numbers, in large part because their migration path – 140 miles of prime habitat along the Lower Snake River – is blockaded by four dams.
That’s why I organized “Run for Salmon Runs”: to raise awareness about the plight of our salmon and orcas and empower people to make their voices heard. Over the course of a week, 85 people, including myself, walked, ran, biked, or wheeled 14 miles– just 1/10th of the 140-mile river corridor that must be restored to protect salmon and steelhead from extinction.
Although being an environmental activist is something I’m lucky enough to call my full-time job, it was inspiring to see others get outside to join in the effort. While resting our feet, we called our elected officials, drafted letters, and signed petitions to advocate for breaching four federal dams on the Lower Snake River to save salmon, and our orcas.
And it made a difference.
Because of growing grassroots power built over recent years, Gov. Jay Inslee and Sen. Patty Murray have committed themselves to develop an actionable plan over the next few months to address the salmon extinction crisis. Additionally, Sen. Maria Cantwell has secured billions of dollars towards salmon recovery in the latest Congressional Infrastructure Package. Both announcements are sprints in the right direction.
Although the 14-mile challenge is done, our race to the finish line is far from over.
My finish line is breaching the four Lower Snake River dams, and I will continue to run toward it. Will you join me?