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Biden Memo Instructs US Agencies to Revive Salmon Populations in the Northwest

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President Biden Directs Efforts to Restore Salmon Runs in Columbia River Basin

President Joe Biden has issued a directive to federal agencies, calling for the restoration of "healthy and abundant" salmon runs in the Columbia River Basin. While the order falls short of advocating for the removal of hydroelectric dams on the Lower Snake River, it emphasizes the importance of honoring U.S. treaty obligations with Pacific Northwest tribes and taking action to restore salmon populations.

Salmon's Cultural and Ecological Significance

The memo recognizes the vital role of wild salmon, steelhead, and other native fish populations in the Columbia River Basin for the culture, economy, religion, and way of life of tribal nations and indigenous peoples. It acknowledges that human activities, including dam construction and operation, have significantly impacted the ecosystem and severely depleted fish populations.

Challenges and Declining Populations

The memo highlights the decline in salmon returns, with current numbers being a small fraction of historical figures, despite substantial investments by federal, tribal, and state governments. Thirteen salmon and steelhead species are listed as threatened or endangered. President Biden's order emphasizes the need for a sustained national effort to restore healthy and abundant fish populations in the basin.
Political Considerations and Future Actions
While the memo does not recommend breaching the dams in Eastern Washington, which could have significant economic and political implications, it signals the Biden administration's commitment to salmon recovery and tribal rights. The directive comes as a deadline approaches for a longstanding federal lawsuit over the operation of hydroelectric dams on the Columbia and Snake rivers. In conclusion, President Biden's directive to restore salmon runs in the Columbia River Basin represents a potential breakthrough, demonstrating a commitment to addressing the decline of fish populations. While the memo does not call for dam removal, it sets the stage for increased efforts to restore salmon and honor treaty obligations. The outcome of ongoing litigation and future actions will shape the future of salmon recovery in the region.

Potential Business Implications of Biden's Salmon Recovery Directive

President Biden's directive to restore salmon runs in the Columbia River Basin could have significant implications for new businesses, particularly those in the environmental conservation and sustainable fishing sectors. The directive, which calls for the restoration of "healthy and abundant" salmon populations, underscores the administration's commitment to ecological preservation and the honoring of treaty obligations with Pacific Northwest tribes.

Opportunities for Environmental Conservation Businesses

This move could create opportunities for businesses focused on environmental conservation and restoration. Companies offering innovative solutions to restore and maintain healthy fish populations might find increased demand for their services. Additionally, firms specializing in sustainable fishing practices could benefit from the renewed focus on preserving native fish populations.

Challenges for Hydroelectric Power Sector

On the other hand, the directive could pose challenges for businesses in the hydroelectric power sector. While the memo does not explicitly call for the removal of dams, it does highlight the negative impact of dam construction and operation on the ecosystem. This could lead to increased scrutiny and potential regulatory challenges for companies operating in this space.
Future Implications and Actions
The outcome of the ongoing federal lawsuit over the operation of hydroelectric dams on the Columbia and Snake rivers could further shape the business landscape in this region. Companies, particularly start-ups, should closely monitor these developments to identify potential opportunities and challenges. In conclusion, Biden's directive underscores the growing importance of environmental sustainability in business operations and strategy.
Story First Published at: https://financialpost.com/pmn/business-pmn/biden-memo-directs-us-agencies-to-restore-healthy-and-abundant-salmon-runs-in-the-northwest
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