Once upon a time...
...salmon were so plentiful in North America that people thought they didn’t need to worry about protecting them. So they blocked access to spawning habitat with infrastructure like dams and culverts. They channeled streams into ditches. They cut down shade trees that kept the water cool enough for salmon. They caught millions of fish with mechanical traps and nets, and didn’t allow enough fish to get to their spawning grounds.
For a while, there were still plenty of fish, but gradually some runs were wiped out, and many others reached critically low numbers — it was the “death by a thousand cuts” story again.
Some people realized that action was necessary, others were in denial, and some still are.
NSEA is one of many organizations working to reverse the decline in salmon runs by restoring habitat through cooperation with landowners, volunteer participation, and increasing people’s awareness of the problem, through science education programs in the schools and at large.
We’ve been working since 1990 to try to undo the changes made over 150 years. We have a long way to go, but we won’t stop as long as salmon need our help.