Garret Visser, a Conservation Program Coordinator with the Idaho Wildlife Federation (IWF) spoke to Chamber members at their general meeting June 5.

Visser’s visit was prompted by the organization’s work with riverside communities to help reverse the decline in salmon and steelhead returns to the Clearwater and Salmon river basins.

The IWF is Idaho’s oldest statewide conservation organization protecting sportsman interests. Founded by sporting and wildlife groups in 1936, IWF became the state’s leading voice and influence to limit decline and restore game and wildlife populations.

In the face of overwhelming decimation of fish and game by overharvest and habitat destruction, IWF accrued affiliate clubs who shared goals to protect and return habitat and wildlife through ecologic restoration, education, and policy change.

Visser was asked by if the decline might be part of a cycle, there have been low numbers to return in other years. The numbers seemed to have bounced back for a spell. What effect does the condition of our oceans have on the fish? Is there sufficient food? Were the dams to blame and/or warmer waters?

Many factors contribute to fewer fish returning, and though countless efforts and 16 billion dollars have been poured into the fish recovery project the numbers of healthy fish are still dwindling.

Visser stated he was grateful and supportive of the various hatcheries throughout Idaho to do all they can to restore the fish and the communities who depend on them to survive.

“There is no quick fix or easy answer to the issue,” said Visser, “It’s not a bipartisan issue, but one that we must all work together to resolve.”

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