Nez Perce Tribe Receives Recognition for Conservation Efforts

Nez Perce Tribe receives honor for leading the fight to breach four lower Snake River Dams, as well as for the Camas to Condor program.

(Washington, DC) A group of local, regional, and national conservation organizations recognized the Nez Perce Tribe, the Yurok Tribe, Bat Conservation International, Hawaii’s Plant Extinction Prevention Program, Jane Goodall, the Sea Turtle Conservancy, and members of Congress, for their major contributions to protecting and supporting the Endangered Species Act for their hard work to conserve and recover threatened and endangered species.

For 50 years, the Endangered Species Act has been a safety net for wildlife, fish, and plants on the brink of extinction. Passed with bipartisan support and signed into law in 1973, the Endangered Species Act remains a landmark law that has prevented 99% of the species it protects from going extinct and has put hundreds more on the path to recovery. More than 50 species have been recovered and are thriving in the wild once again, including the bald eagle, due to the Endangered Species Act.

The Nez Perce Tribe has been an instrumental leader in the fight to breach the four lower Snake River dams in an attempt to save the salmon populations from extinction. On September 14th, 2023, the Nez Perce Tribe was recognized for being the first tribe to work with the federal government to oversee the statewide recovery of an endangered species. The Nez Perce Tribe was also recognized for their dedication to recovering and monitoring gray wolves, returning Coho salmon to the Clearwater River, and protecting the endangered wolverine and lynx.

Additionally, the Nez Perce Tribe’s program Camas to Condors is currently in the early stages of reintroducing California condors to the Nez Perce ancestral territory. This is focused on whole-systems restoration for resilience, justice, and cultural survival.

“The value of the reserved treaty rights of the Nez Perce Tribe are inextricably linked with the health and abundance of the flora and fauna on the land and in the water,” said Nez Perce Tribe Executive Committee Chairman, Shannon Wheeler. “The protections provided under the Endangered Species Act have been pivotal in protecting against extinction of many keystone species and are an invaluable tool in helping fulfill the Tribe’s obligation to preserve and protect the fish, plants, and animals who cannot speak for themselves.”

A heartfelt salute to NPTEC’s Samuel N. Penney, who accepted this prestigious honor on behalf of the Nez Perce Tribe. Penney also enlightened attendees as a panelist during the symposium on “legislative successes and challenges in protecting imperiled wildlife”.

The conservation organizations to grant awards are as follows: American Bird Conservancy, Audubon, Buffalo Field Campaign, Dona ana Village Association, Center for Biological Diversity, Defenders of Wildlife, Earthjustice, Endangered Species Coalition, The Endangered Species Conservation Site, Environment America, Four Paws, Friends of Blackwater, Humane Action Pittsburgh, International Fund for Animal Welfare, Lobos of the Southwest, National Wildlife Federation, NYC Plover Project, Ocean Preservation Society, Oregon Wild, Rocky Mountain Wild, Save the Manatee, Sierra Club, The Humane Society of the United States, Western Watersheds Project, Western Wildlife Outreach, WildEarth Guardians, Wolf Conservation Center, and World Wildlife Fund.

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