If someone had told me a year ago, when I was planning to launch the new subscription-based Columbia Basin Bulletin, that in nine months the nation would be dealing with a pandemic striking a hard blow to the economy, I might have questioned the wisdom of the enterprise.
But nobody knew, and here we are one year later.
And through it all, Columbia River basin salmon and steelhead recovery developments are still rolling along. And in Year Two the CBB is seeking continued subscriber support to keep basin stakeholders informed.
The fish are still migrating down the dammed Columbia/Snake rivers and returning to the mainstem and tributaries. Harvest continues, and hatcheries are operating. Habitat projects are moving forward. Environmental impact statements, biological opinions, rule changes and litigation have not hit the pause button. Same with a myriad of plans, programs and analyses. New research results continue to be published. Efforts to reduce predation and battle invasive species are ongoing. Still so much to learn about what happens to salmon and steelhead in the vast ocean. And the basin’s climate continues to warm, with profound implications for fish and people.
Most of these efforts are publicly funded by taxpayers and ratepayers — billions of dollars since the 1990s, hundreds of millions of dollars per year — and deserve independent news coverage. And I don’t mean a story here or there in a newspaper or blog. Columbia Basin salmon and steelhead recovery and related regional natural resource issues deserve steady, trustworthy, complete coverage.
That’s what we do at the Columbia Basin Bulletin. This week’s edition marks the first anniversary of the revamped, independent, subscription-based CBB.
As many of you know, since 1998, the CBB has offered readers in-depth news coverage of Columbia River basin salmon and steelhead recovery, the most extensive and expensive ecological restoration effort in the United States.
In the past, we were able to do this as a stakeholder information product under the Northwest Power and Conservation Council’s Columbia River Basin Fish and Wildlife Program, which is intended to guide Bonneville Power Administration fish and wildlife mitigation spending. In 2018, however, BPA informed the Council it would no longer fund the CBB because it did not provide direct fish benefits. BPA said the move was part of its goal of reducing its fish and wildlife spending by up to $30 million.
But with this change, I did not consider it time for the CBB to fold up shop. As we now experience a critical period for Columbia River basin salmon recovery and other issues, it is important that you and other stakeholders continue to have access to complete, fair and independent news coverage of the key developments in fish and wildlife policymaking, litigation, research, river operations, harvest management, fish passage, habitat restoration and much more.
But going forward we must rely on you, the subscriber, to continue such coverage.
As the first year under the new format reaches its anniversary, first-year subscribers through this second year will begin receiving notices for renewals, the timing depending on when you signed up. We urge you to consider renewing so we can continue the work.
And for those who have not yet subscribed? Well, of course we urge you to check out the now year-old revamped Columbia Basin Bulletin website and consider becoming a CBB Member. Membership will give you access to all articles, including 21 years of archives, which provide valuable history and background. Group rate discounts for organizations are available.
Your Membership will allow the CBB to continue reporting the important details of Columbia Basin salmon and steelhead recovery and other fish and wildlife issues.
Thank you for your consideration,
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