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Environmental, Natural Resources, & Energy Law

Prof. Blumm receives grant to update “Sacrificing the Salmon: Legal History of the Decline of Columbia Basin Salmon”

January 15, 2019

  • Spring Chinook Salmon. Photo courtesy Michael Humling, US Fish & Wildlife Service
    https://www.fisheries.noaa.gov/species/chinook-salmon

Professor Michael Blumm received a grant from the Rocky Mountain Mineral Law Foundation (RMMLF) to support updates and revisions to his 2002 book, “Sacrificing the Salmon: A Legal History of the Decline of Columbia Basin Salmon.”

The abstract of the book summarizes Prof. Blumm’s analysis of the importance, and the critical state, of salmon in the Pacific Northwest:

“Salmon remain the cultural and economic soul of the Pacific Northwest, a species whose very life cycle largely defines the region. At the center of the salmon region lies the Columbia River, which once supported the world’s largest salmon runs and which now is home to the world’s largest interconnected hydroelectric system. These massive federal and non-federal dams have devastated Columbia Basin salmon runs, some of which are now extinct, others are on life-support. This book tells the story of the decline of the Columbia Basin salmon in the 20th century. But it begins earlier, with the signing of mid-19th century Indian treaties that promised the tribes the right of taking fish in return for ceding some 64 million acres of land to the onrushing United States. This treaty promise was actually the first in a series of promises that the salmon runs would be maintained. The book uses the promise metaphor to examine the state of salmon and surrounding legal and institutional environment over the last century-and-a-half. None of the promises have been fully kept.”

Professor Blumm will continue his long standing practice of working with upper division law students to revise and update this important book. Thank-you to the RMMLF for its financial support.