Go the Distance: Whales, Wild Salmon and the Snake River Dams
For eons, a one-of-a-kind population of killer whales has hunted chinook salmon along the Pacific Coast. But, in recent years, salmon numbers have plummeted and orcas are starving as a result. The solution, say leading whale scientists, is getting rid of four fish-killing dams 500 miles away on the largest tributary to what once was the largest Chinook producing river on earth. Studying whales is science. Removing dams is politics. This panel of Indigenous leaders, fishermen, conservationists, scientists and activists shares lessons on the front lines of the fight to free the Snake River—running through Wyoming, Idaho, Oregon and Washington—by breaching the lower 4 Snake River Dams. They’ll discuss what it will take to restore salmon populations, after a screening of the award-winning documentary, Dammed to Extinction.
Giles serves as the Science & Research Director for Wild Orca, and as a Research Scientist at the University of Washington—monitoring the Southern Resident killer whales’ health through non-invasive sampling with Eba, her highly-trained poop detection dog.
Giles collaborates with government scientists and other researchers to enhance understanding of the many impacts on these endangered whales from overfishing, pollution and noise. She represents their interests with policymakers, and is frequently interviewed by print and broadcast media as one of the principal voices calling for the recovery of these endangered orcas.
Prior to directing Dammed to Extinction Peterson directed The Rapid Decline of the Lower Deschutes River. This short film depicts the recent environmental tragedy taking place on this Oregon waterway.
Peterson spent 20 years working in film and television in Hollywood. His visual effects film credits include Independence Day, Armageddon, Contact and Star Trek First Contact. He has worked on dozens of music videos and national broadcast commercials.