Tell Congress: Save the Southern Resident orca
Back when the oldest Southern Resident orca, L25, was born, Chinook salmon freely swam up the Snake River and back into the ocean, providing critical food for these majestic creatures. Now, L25 is 93 years old and battles starvation, hunting alongside her pod for the vanishing Chinook salmon.
There are only 74 Southern Resident orcas left.
Southern Resident orcas are critically endangered, with only 74 left. Chinook salmon make up 80 percent of their diet, but the salmon struggle to travel the 900 miles upstream to their breeding waters, with dams blocking 140 miles of their path — and as the salmon population dwindles, orcas are starving.1
U.S. Rep. Mike Simpson (Idaho) has a plan to open those 140 miles and save the Chinook and Southern Resident orcas.
Help save the last of the Southern Resident orcas by telling your U.S. House representative to support the Columbia Basin Initiative.
By saving salmon, we can save orcas.
The initiative would remove the earthen sides of the four dams blocking the Lower Snake River, enabling Chinook salmon to complete their long journey and spawn in the cool mountain streams they need to survive. With a healthy Chinook salmon population, Southern Resident orcas could thrive.
Since the dams were first built, Chinook salmon populations have declined by 90 percent.2
The plan has bipartisan support and the potential to be a win across species and across the aisle. With your help, we can save the Southern Resident orca, the Chinook salmon, and the communities that rely on the fish and nutrients they bring to the land.
Take action to save the Southern Residents from extinction.
Orcas have long memories, passing hunting knowledge and teachings from generation to generation.3 L25 has seen fewer and smaller salmon over her 93 years, but has no way of knowing why. All she knows is that the Chinook salmon are supposed to be there, and her pod is starving in their absence.
L25 needs your help now to bring orcas back from being critically endangered. Will you help save her pod?
- Lynda V. Mapes, “GOP congressman pitches $34 billion plan to breach Lower Snake River dams in new vision for Northwest,” Seattle Times, February 7, 2021.
- “Chinook Salmon,” Environmental Protection Agency, last accessed July 21, 2021.
- Lynda V. Mapes, “Record heat, drought threaten even the toughest survivors: L25, the oldest orca, and the winter Chinook she depends on,” Seattle Times, July 7, 2021.