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Update: Clean Water for Salmon

by Josh Vincent — last modified Dec 17, 2010 07:27 PM
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Chinook Salmon Spawning

Photo: Salmon Spawning, U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service

Endangered salmon are not the only ones who deserve protection from pesticides, but they've endured enough hardship to earn a spot at the front of the line. In addition to dams, habitat loss, overfishing and climate change, Pacific salmon are subject to over 60 different pesticide compounds according to a USGS survey of northwest waters. Even low-level pesticide exposure can have dramatic results. 

Some pesticides can kill young salmon outright, others interfere with salmon’s ability to navigate back to natal streams and breed, still others effect salmon by killing their food sources.  

For years now we've been working in partnership with other groups to address the plight of northwest salmon who are struggling to live and spawn in chemically polluted waters. After conversations with federal agencies about making the necessary changes it became clear that we would need to involve the courts. When we presented the facts to Federal Judges, they acknowledged the need to protect salmon from pesticides and ordered both the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) and the National Marine Fisheries Service (NMFS) to fulfill their responsibility to protect salmon from pesticides. Victory at last...or so we thought.

Two years have passed since the NMFS prescribed new restrictions for six harmful pesticides, but the EPA has neglected to enforce new protections. That's why NCAP, along with Pacific Coast Federation of Fishermen's Associations, Institute for Fisheries Resources and Defenders of Wildlife filed suit against the EPA earlier this month. We want protected waters, we want protected fish, and we want them both now.

We’ll keep you informed as our efforts progress.