Will the legacy of Larry survive? Will you and your children see his sequels in the Sawtooth Mountains? Only you can tell. So speak up.
Historically, Lonesome Larry’s ancestors spawned in October along the shores of Idaho’s glacial lakes: Alturas, Pettit, Yellowbelly, Redfish, Stanley, Payette and Warm Lakes. Once numbering close to a hundred thousand, the runs dropped to the dozens by the late-1970s, and to the single digits in the 80s and 90s. Only one fish returned to Redfish in 1984, 1988 and 1989. None returned in 1990. In 1991, four fish made it back, only one a female. Dubbed Eve, she became another genetic keystone in Fish and Game’s rescue program, founded the same year.
In 1992, by the time Lonesome Larry made it back to Redfish Lake, extinction seemed eminent.
Now, 20 years later, although the costly captive broodstock program has successfully prevented the total extinction of Idaho’s sockeye salmon, the core problem remains. Dams on the lower Columbia and lower Snake rivers continue to kill too many baby salmon as they migrate to the Pacific Ocean each spring, and then impact them again on their way home.
Removing the four low-value dams on the lower Snake River in eastern Washington is the only sure way to keep redfish in Idaho’s Redfish Lake. Today, after four government recovery plans have been declared illegal for failure to do too little for Idaho’s wild salmon, it is time to convene stakeholders from throughout the region to recover sockeye and chinook salmon, as well as steelhead trout—all listed under the Endangered Species Act. Please sign this letter to Sen. Mike Crapo today and ask him to help convene a collaborative table that ushers in legal and biologically sound solutions for Larry’s descendants, and for all of Idaho’s wild salmon and steelhead.
Learn more about the science, strategies and economics behind protecting salmon.