Negotiations have started 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. This could be done while still meeting the needs of hydropower and flood control.

For the past 50 years, the Columbia River Treaty excluded tribal participation in its governance and implementation. For the State Department to continue this exclusion in current negotiations is unacceptable. The indigenous peoples of the Columbia River Basin who have lived with these rivers from time immemorial—and suffered from the dams—will give voice to the voiceless: our rivers, animals, fish and generations unborn.

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.

Learn More:

  • Columbia Basin Tribes’ Common Views of the Future of the Columbia River Treaty – The 15 Columbia Basin tribes shared their views in 2010 about the future management of the Columbia River, including respect for tribal sovereignty and protecting ecological processes like healthy fish, wildlife and plants.
  • 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:


Kalispel Tribe of Indians – Northern Pike Suppression

United by Water

The Value of Natural Capital in the Columbia River Basin

Answering the Call: UCUT Canoes Arrive at Standing Rock

Climate Change Workshop

Protecting Lake Coeur d’Alene

Coeur d’Alene Tribe Forest Carnivore Survey

UCUT Video Gallery

Canoe Journey and Gathering at Kettle Falls

Fish Reintroduction into the U.S. And Canadian Upper Columbia River

Upper Columbia River Basin Fish Passage and Reintroduction Project – Phase 1

Treaty Talks: A Journey up the Columbia River for People and Salmon

Columbia River Listed among Most Endangered Rivers of 2015

20 Year Report

United for the Benefit of All

Grand Coulee and the Forgotten Tribe

UCUT and Bonneville Power Administration Partnership

Tribal Salmon Management, Harvesting and Sharing

Forests and Fish Report

Drumheller Springs Natural Park

Pow Wow and Community Outreach