top of page

Weep For Snake River Salmon


A tiny life form awakens after a long winter sleep in the gravel of a stream nearly 1000 miles from the Pacific Ocean at 7000+ feet elevation in pristine headwaters of the Upper Snake River Basin, the crown jewel salmon habitat in the continental United States.

Photo Credit: University of Washington Beef Creek Fisheries Research Station.

This tiny salmon egg and its siblings were buried in the gravel months previously by an adult female salmon and fertilized by a male. 


Within that tiny little orb is a genetic heritage millions of years in the making. Uniquely adapted to the place of its birth over the past 10,000 years since the Ice Age. It is programed to accomplish feats so extraordinary it makes IBM’s Watson AI supercomputer look like a stone ax in comparison.

This small orb will transform into a tiny fingerling salmon, emerge from the gravel and live at 7000 feet elevation for a year or so. It’s waiting for a genetic signal to migrate—to let itself  be carried by the spring runoff nearly 1000 miles and 7000 feet in elevation down the slope of the continent to the Pacific Ocean from which its parents came to reproduce and die where they were born. 


If the young salmon is one of the millions of its kind from infinite unique nesting places throughout the vast Snake River Basin that survive to reach the Pacific, it will travel 1000s of miles feeding and growing in the rich waters of the northern Pacific. Perhaps as far north as southeast Alaska. Or perhaps its genetic program will send it as far south as northern California.

1, 2, 3, or now rarely 4 years later, its unique genetic program will signal that it is time to go home. The now-adult salmon will return to the mouth of the Columbia River and begin its nearly thousand-mile return journey, climbing 7000 feet in elevation up the side of the continent to where it was born. And there, if female, lay eggs in the same gravel. And if male, fertilize the eggs destined to become more tiny little orbs. Life mission complete, the adult salmon will die. The rich marine nutrients from their decaying bodies fertilize the sterile high elevation waters to benefit a myriad life forms, including their progeny. Thus perpetuating one of Mother Earth’s most astonishing cycles of life. 


A many, many thousand-mile round trip. All underwater. Driven by genetic program contained in a living orb smaller than a marble (take that Watson!).

There's nothing else like it in the world. Does anyone get the message? Can you believe we would be so stupid to destroy this astonishing unique, economically and ecologically priceless, perpetually renewable natural resource? Believe it. This epic wanton destruction of one of the Earth’s greatest gifts to mankind is pure evil; it will never be forgotten or forgiven by future generations. 


Reminds me of the Little Abner cartoon I read in the newspaper as a child so many years ago. There were cartoon creatures called Shmoos— I think they called them. Gentle creatures that catered to all man's needs. Man, of course, killed them off.


That cartoon reminds me of a Columbia River Basin origin myth. After all the world's other creatures were finished and complete, man was introduced into their midst. The other creatures saw that man was weak and helpless and unlikely to survive. They polled themselves; who would be so kind as to offer themselves to help man survive and prosper?


The salmon people volunteered.


What could possibly go wrong?


Take another look at the photo above. Then look at this photo.

Dick Walker / Alpha 1 Photography

You will be moved. Perhaps not to weep, as I secretly do in my very darkest moments, if I momentarily relax grip on my rage at the Snake River salmon killers, their enablers, shills and associated quislings.

Never forget. Never forgive. That’s the promise and the mission of The Last Salmon Ceremony

Ed Chaney


A Brief Refresher Course On How We Got Here

And A Glimpse of What True Evil Looks Like—

Your Government At Work


bottom of page