Keeping the Chehalis Dam-Free

Keeping the Chehalis Dam-Free

Finding smart solutions for managing the Chehalis River system for salmon and flood damage reduction.

The Chehalis River in southwest Washington, is one of the state’s most important remaining rivers for Chinook and winter steelhead. It’s been identified as a key source of food for struggling Southern Resident killer whale pods. But it’s also slated for a dam in the upper watershed, which would inundate key spawning grounds and damage the hydrology of the river.

Wild Salmon Center, led by Jess Helsley, is working to organize conservation and tribal partners on the Olympic Peninsula to stop the dam and advocate for smart solutions to both improve the Chehalis River system for salmon and for flood damage reduction—which is the major impetus behind the dam proposal.

We will be working with science partners to understand the size of Chinook populations and the range of these fish in the watershed. And, as the dam proposal moves through the public comment period in 2020, we’ll be working with partners to educate the public through film and digital channels about the river, its fish and their importance to orcas and the rest of the Southwest Washington region. Stay tuned for more on the Chehalis as the campaign kicks into gear later this year.

Southern Resident Orca
Chinook salmon are a key food source for Southern Resident Orca in Washington.
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