In early 2018, negotiations will start that will determine the future of our region: the negotiations of the Columbia River Treaty. The Columbia River Treaty was originally ratified between the U.S. and Canada in 1964 to reduce the risk of floods in downstream cities like Portland, Oregon, and to develop hydropower capacity.
Tribes and First Nations are advocating a third major criteria be included in a modernized Columbia River Treaty: ecosystem-based function—that is, taking into account fish, wildlife, habitat, water quality, and health of the river. If Canadian and U.S. dams release more water to flow like a natural river, it would help restore healthier flows for salmon, native fish, and wildlife. This could be done while still meeting the needs of hydropower and flood control.
We believe it is the responsibility of everyone to protect our environment for generations to come, and changing how we manage the Columbia River, on both sides of the border, is important to ensuring we leave our descendants with a healthy home, clean water, and an opportunity to thrive.
- U.S. Entity Regional Recommendation – We urge Treaty negotiators to listen to the U.S. Entity Regional Recommendation provided in December 2013, which took into consideration the input from tribes and other stakeholders in the Columbia River Basin and called for ecosystem-based function to be included in the modernized Treaty.
- The Value of Natural Capital in the Columbia River Basin – This report estimates the Columbia River Basin’s natural capital provides $198 billion in value annually. The report estimates that a modest 10 percent increase in ecosystem-based function would add $19 billion per year to the basin’s value.
- Fish Reintroduction into the U.S. and Canadian Upper Columbia River – U.S. Columbia Basin tribes and Canadian First Nations propose that restoring fish passage and reintroducing anadromous fish should be investigated and implemented as a key element of integrating ecosystem-based function into the Treaty.
- Columbia River Treaty – The Columbia River Treaty is a 50-year-old international treaty between Canada and the U.S. on the development and operation of dams in the Upper Columbia River Basin for power and flood control. Read the full text here.
In the News:
- Seattle Times, February 7, 2018 – Environmental impact of salmon decline: This isn’t just about fish
- The Register-Guard, January 28, 2018 – New treaty must address ecosystem concerns
- Seattle Times, January 7, 2018 – Columbia River Treaty Talks offer Hope for River, Native Peoples
- The Spokesman-Review, December 31, 2017 – Columbia River treaty a test for Trump
- Seattle Times, December 16, 2017 – U.S. Canada to begin talks in 2018 on Columbia River Treaty