Society of Environmental Journalists comes to Boise with focus on salmon & dams

Published 4/20/2023  |  Idaho Rivers United

Rep. Mike Simpson (R-ID) and Nez Perce Tribe Chairman Shannon Wheeler both spoke at the conference’s opening reception about salmon recovery and the need to remove the four Lower Snake River dams. (Photo credit: Shannon Wheeler)

The Society of Environmental Journalists Conference is being held this week in Boise, with over 800 attendees from all over the world. The theme “Crossing the Divide: Urban Growth and Wild,” fits Boise well, as it is one of the fastest growing boomtowns in the country and although a red state in most political spheres, can be considered purple surrounding environmental issues. Idaho Rivers United is honored to attend the conference and be an exhibitor at the event this week.

A focus of the conference is around salmon recovery and dam removal, as Representative Mike Simpson (R-ID) and Vice Chairman of the Nez Perce Tribe, Shannon Wheeler, kicked off the opening reception on Wednesday evening with their perspectives and goals of why removing the four Lower Snake River dams is critical, and the scientifically proven best option to recover dwindling salmon populations, which are on the brink of extinction in Idaho and the Northwest region.

“Salmon need a river, and right now they don’t have a river. If we don’t do something, they will go extinct,” said Simpson. “This would be devastating to the Northwest.” Simpson, who is one of the regional leaders in Lower Snake River dam removal, came out with a comprehensive plan in 2021, to which other elected officials have followed suit more recently.

Simpson has been working with Wheeler and the Nez Perce Tribe closely on this issue, and elaborated on the treaty rights that have been broken for decades due to the dams killing salmon populations. “ Fishing rights don’t matter if there are no fish,” said Simpson.

Journalists will tour various landscapes with environmental themed topics around the area, as well as go on EcoFlights to see current mining exploration projects and threats. Idaho Rivers United and Idaho Conservation League are hosting many of these opportunities and we look forward to connecting and networking with reporters on these issues.

We will share more about the conference in upcoming blog articles and social media posts. Follow along @idahoriversunited for live updates.

Here are some free plenary sessions that the public can tune in to virtually:

Opening Plenary: Clean Energy and the Land — The High-Stakes Battle Over Climate Solutions

Interior Secretary Deb Haaland Keynote and Q&A

Full agenda is here:


This post originally appeared on News – Idaho Rivers United.