Salmon are no canaries. They have robust life-history strategies and diverse habitat needs. If we keep their freshwater habitat cold, clean and intact and their marine food web stable without large blobs of warm water, wild Pacific salmon will persist and continue to contribute to global and local food security. Their greatest vulnerability is that Alaskans actually have to decide to do these things.
Climate change and habitat degradation will unravel freshwater habitat and marine food webs if we do not prioritize our wild salmon as we make decisions about energy, development and agriculture.
We are already locked into some carbon-induced warming for decades ahead. But we have choices in front of us right now which will determine the rest of the climate story. From priorities in our local electric coops to pushing for a moratorium on new oil & gas development, Alaskans can change which climate trajectory we and our salmon are on.
Unfortunately, we have plenty of examples of bad choices made in salmon watersheds. We can look to the Pacific Northwest, New England and Europe: places where salmon—once abundant—no longer thrive or even exist. We can see where incompatible road design restricts floodplains and blocks fish passage; residential and industrial development degrades wetlands and riparian areas; and urban and agricultural runoff pollutes waterways. If Alaskans are committed to having thriving salmon populations, we must avoid these traps and be more purposeful in how we live, develop and farm on the landscape.
Inletkeeper is committed to a future with healthy habitat and abundant salmon populations. This can only happen if a vision of salmon in our future is driving Alaskans’ decisions. We can transition our energy economy and change the carbon path we are presently on. Alaskans can elect local and state leaders who will create or update salmon-friendly policies and enforce them. The choices are ours.
We need you to join us today to protect what we love and value about this incredible place.
Together we can protect Cook Inlet and its watershed because these are the lands and waters that nourish and sustain us. Now is the time to pay it forward. Please give if you can, every bit helps.
P.S. We always get questions about what is the right amount to give. Give what you can afford, and then give a bit more because this is your future.