Southern Resident killer whales hunt for salmon from British Columbia to California. Over the last century, the number of salmon produced in the rivers that feed these Pacific waters, including the Salish Sea, has fallen dramatically. Dams are one of the big contributing factors, as they’ve prevented salmon from accessing historic breeding habitat. In places where dams have been removed, salmon have successfully re-colonized stretches of river that were unused for decades.

Historically, the Snake River was one of the most important salmon-producing rivers in the Residents’ range. The Snake travels through Idaho, Oregon, and into Washington State, where it meets four dams on the lower Snake River. Removal of these dams would allow salmon to once again access hundreds of miles of rivers, rewilding our seas with wild salmon. It’s only through improving the fortunes of these wild Chinook, that we can hope to secure a future for these wild orcas.