Thanks to our legal win, action is happening now in the Upper Willamette River. On October 1, Foster Dam begins spilling water for threatened fish

Salmon and steelhead now have a fighting chance—because of our success and your support!

Tonight, one hour before sunset, the spillway at Foster Dam on the South Santiam River in Oregon will open and begin releasing water so young spring Chinook salmon and winter steelhead can move more quickly and safely on their downstream migration to the Pacific Ocean. This is critically important for their survival.

This watershed moment for the recovery of threatened salmon and steelhead was made possible because of successful legal action taken by WildEarth Guardians, Advocates for the West, Native Fish Society, and the Northwest Environmental Defense Center.

In 2018, we sued the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers for failing to save Upper Willamette River wild spring Chinook salmon and winter steelhead from extinction. Last month, Judge Marco Hernández unequivocally agreed, stating, “the Court has no patience for further delay or obfuscation in this matter.” And now action is happening!

Because of our successful lawsuit, operations at multiple dams must be modified to prioritize fish passage and water quality, which is vital to ensuring native fish and ecosystems can thrive. There is renewed hope today for western rivers, including Oregon’s Willamette!

Stay tuned over the next few months as we share exciting updates on the cascade of positive actions as they happen in real time.

Your actions and financial support have been vital to our work protecting living rivers and stopping extinction—you helped make this victory possible. Your continued support and partnership will enable Guardians to keep defending the wild fish and wild rivers of the American West.

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About the Author

Marlies Wierenga | Former Pacific Northwest Conservation Manager, WildEarth Guardians

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