I have a sort of fish’s-eye view of this organization. A few years ago, one of my good friends worked as IRU’s salmon coordinator. She accordingly outfitted me as a volunteer in a full-body sockeye salmon suit whenever possible. The world looks different through the eyes, or in this case, the gaping mouth, of a giant sockeye salmon.
I began to think like a fish. Or, in any case, to think more about this red-bodied, green-headed fish I inhabited. As an Idaho sockeye salmon, I would be spawned in the cold waters of Redfish Lake, grow to a fry, and float downstream 900 miles to the sea, where I would eat, roam oceans, grow big, and fight my way back to that lake in the shadows of the Sawtooths.
At least, that was my fish story 40 years ago, and for millennia before that. Now, my life starts in a hatchery and ends in one, and I face 8 dams on my journey down, and 8 on my way back. And still, I come back, but I am on the brink.
What an amazing story. If only fish could talk, it would be the Odyssey, it would be epic, one of the great tales of perseverance and renewal in our world.
But fish can’t talk, and rivers can’t talk, and when they are threatened with extinction or pollution, Idaho Rivers United talks for them.
From my fish suit, I witnessed IRU-sponsored rallies, outreach on the Boise River and events like the annual Salmon Festival in Stanley. Eventually, I began to see the real work of this organization, the policy and public awareness and protection that IRU tirelessly fights to give our rivers and fish across the state.
Holistic and dogged in our approach, IRU believes that transformative achievements are possible with a small but creative, hard-working staff, a diverse, dedicated board and members like you.
It just takes passion for our rivers. Passion that all Idahoans experience every time we witness the many wonders of our state’s waterways.