Taking the First Step

One culvert at a time. That’s how salmon and steelhead spawning habitat is restored.

The relacement of 1,000 fish-blocking culverts statewide might otherwise seem daunting. Like anything else in life, make a plan and stick to it.

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Energy and Survival

While the focus on Orcas and the habitat recovery of their primary food source, salmon, was previously on watersheds of the Salish Sea, data showing their reliance on rivers from Canada to California to feed themselves draws our attention to the Columbia and Snake rivers and the 31 dams of the Federal Columbia River Power System. As noted here, that system has to balance energy needs of Washington, Oregon, Idaho, California, Montana, Utah, Wyoming and Nevada with the survival of Orcas and salmon. The Bonneville Power Administration that manages this electrical generation system produces one third of the electricity consumed in the Northwest, and funds one of the largest fish and wildlife programs in the world.

Point of No Return

75 is the lowest number of so-called ‘resident’ Salish Sea Orcas in the last three decades. With the White House eager to gut the Endangered Species Act, and Congress likely to go along, it won’t be long before we reach a point of no return. In June, the U.S. House of Representatives voted to make spraying farm pesticides without a permit lawful.

Update: NOAA and Washington Department of Fish and Wildlife have developed an action plan to save the killer whales, but that could be undone by the Republicans.

Many Nations

The Salish Sea, like the Mediterranean, is an international sea shared by many nations. Protecting the sea for the benefit of all is an intergovernmental task of negotiation between First Nations and secondary states. It is not a task of NGOs.

Tar Sands Holocaust

In 2012, the Nobel Women’s Initiative sent a delegation to speak with women in the Canadian province of Alberta about the impact of the Tar Sands oil mining on them, their families and communities. As Nobel Laureate Jody Williams¬†notes¬†in her observations, the denuded Boreal forest area of the Tar Sands project is geographically the size of Florida, and while oil companies had at that time made $14 billion on the project, local indigenous communities have reaped respiratory problems and cancers.

As a project that daily uses enough natural gas to heat 6 million homes, one has to ask, what is the social benefit of the dirtiest industrial undertaking in human history?

Six years after the Nobel Women’s delegation listened to stories about the annihilation of indigenous peoples’ independent and sustainable way of life and ever increasing rates of sickness, substance abuse and suicide, we might want to ask why the broader society finds this cultural genocide acceptable. Would we accept this if the victims were white?

Exercising Jurisdiction

As Secwepemc women warriors are evicted by B.C. Provincial Parks, indigenous activist Kanahus Manuel raises the issue of jurisdiction under international law, saying that Canada has no legal authority to evict them from their own territory. Meanwhile, governments on both sides of the U.S.-Canadian border are preparing to crush indigenous resistance to corporate rule and destruction of their homelands.

Privately Eyes

As Trans Mountain protests grow, so, too, does surveillance. RCMP, energy security personnel, and private investigators observe, photograph, and infiltrate activist gatherings, and report intelligence–freely supplied by protest organizers–to energy companies, as well as to courts in charge of prosecuting protesters.