OPB and ProPublica have co-produced a new podcast “Salmon Wars,” available now on all podcast platforms. This six-episode series tells the story of the salmon of the Columbia River in a way not heard before: through the experiences of a tribal family that relies on the fish as essential to their way of life.

Randy Settler and his family are all members of the Yakama Nation and fishers who have lived on the river their entire lives. They have been deeply affected by the Northwest’s salmon policies for generations. Over the last century and a half, many forces have eroded their and other Native peoples’ access to salmon. Treaties removed them from their traditional fishing areas. Dams massively reduced the number of salmon that swam in the waters. Environmental contamination further poisoned the well. Now, climate change threatens the salmon’s survival.

Salmon Wars” dives into who’s to blame for the salmon vanishing, what can be done about it before it’s too late and why the disappearance of salmon impacts us all. The series is reported by OPB Investigations Editor Tony Schick and ProPublica Video Journalist Katie Campbell and produced by Schick and OPB Podcast Producer Julie Sabatier.

“‘Salmon Wars’ is collaborative journalism at its finest,” said Sarah Blustain, Assistant Managing Editor at ProPublica. “For more than a year, Tony Schick teamed up with ProPublica reporters through our Local Reporting Network to produce a stunning investigative series into how tribal access to salmon has been destroyed for generations. This podcast gives audiences the chance to hear the powerful and poignant voices from those generations for themselves.”

Schick and Campbell’s investigative reporting examined why salmon are disappearing from the Pacific Northwest, and what has led us to the collapse we’re witnessing today. They detailed the threats facing salmon, the government’s failed approach to fish hatcheries, and the broken treaties that swore to protect them.

They also collaborated on short film called “Wy-Kan-Ush-Pum: (Salmon People),” which follows Settler, his nephew Samuel who is a commercial fisher, and Samuel’s 10-year-old daughter Aiyana who goes along fishing with them on the river. The video documentary details their fight to preserve their way of life amid the collapse of salmon populations.

The new podcast “Salmon Wars” tells the family’s story in their own words. Episodes one and two are available now on Apple Podcasts, the NPR app, on opb.org, propublica.org or wherever podcasts are available. It is a continuation of OPB’s award-winning 2020 series “Timber Wars.” These six new episodes, along with two bonus episodes, comprise season two of podcast. Additional “Salmon Wars” episodes will be released weekly.

Salmon Wars” is hosted by OPB’s Tony Schick with reporting by ProPublica’s Katie Campbell. OPB’s Julie Sabatier produced the series, and Sage Van Wing is OPB’s executive editor for News, Talk and Podcasts. OPB’s Steven Kray and Nalin Silva provided all mixing and mastering for the series. Original music for the podcast was composed by Kele Goodwin and Sean Oglvie. Charles Hudson reviewed the series for cultural context. This and all OPB podcasts are made possible by the generous support of OPB members. To contribute, visit www.give.opb.org. ProPublica, too, is a nonprofit newsroom powered primarily through donations from readers. Find out more, or donate at propublica.org/donate.

About OPB

Oregon Public Broadcasting (OPB) is an independent, nonprofit media organization serving communities across Oregon and the Pacific Northwest. Powered by the generous support of members, OPB connects people through trusted journalism that is freely accessible to everyone. Guided by public service and a commitment to equity, we deliver in-depth, fact-driven coverage of politics, science and the environment, arts and culture, education and more. OPB shares stories and programs wherever people seek them: on opb.org, OPB radio and TV, the OPB app, social media, streaming video, podcasts, or our daily “First Look” and other email newsletters.

About ProPublica

ProPublica is an independent, nonprofit newsroom that produces investigative journalism in the public interest. With a team of more than 100 dedicated journalists, ProPublica covers a range of topics, focusing on stories with the potential to spur real-world impact. Its reporting has contributed to the passage of new laws; reversals of harmful policies and practices; and accountability for leaders at local, state and national levels. Since it began publishing in 2008, ProPublica has received six Pulitzer Prizes, five Peabody Awards, five Emmy Awards and fifteen George Polk Awards, among others.