Wednesday, April 18, 2012

Businesses and communities caring for salmon rivers and watersheds

"Now the most important right we have is the right to be responsible." 
These are the words of Gerrald Amus, Kitimat Village elder, from Patagonia's new video about the Skeena River, its salmon fisheries and the communities along it. Patagonia is an outdoor clothing company that's demonstrated business can be ethical, promote conservation and sustainability and be profitable at the same time. Now working with the First Nations of the Skeena, they're beginning a new venture—salmon products.

Port Orford Ocean Resource Team's 2011 Water Festival.  Ocean Resource Team photo.

By their nature, the salmon and steelhead fisheries, the watersheds and the communities of the Chetco River and Oregon's Wild Rivers Coast are different from those in British Columbia. But perhaps this beginning on the Skeena River can serve as added impetus for finding our own unique ways to preserve and restore the watersheds and wild fisheries of the Elk, Illinois, Chetco and Smith Rivers and grow healthy communities at the same time. See Patagonia's thought provoking video below and read about some of inspiring work that's already happening on the Wild Rivers Coast.

There's also many inspiring individual or group efforts. Here are just a few:
  • Harvey Young, of Fishawk River Company promotes catch and release of wild steelhead and attended over 20 meetings as a volunteer on Oregon Department of Fish and Wildlife's Citizen's Advisory Board for the Chinook Salmon Recovery Plan. Read more on Kalmiopsis Audubon's conservation news. 
We hope these inspire many more efforts to preserve and sustain the wild rivers and wild salmon and steelhead populations of Oregon's spectacular Wild River Coast.

Note [1] - Due to the politics of the time, the Smith River National Recreation Area Act stopped at the Oregon/California border leaving out the half of the North Fork Smith River Watershed that's in Oregon, including Baldface Creek, the most productive reach of the North Fork Smith.