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Updating the Columbia River Treaty: An Opportunity to Restore Ecosystems and Protect Wildlife

On Friday September 20, the United States released its draft recommendations for updating the Columbia River Treaty. Established 50 years ago, the treaty created a framework for establishing and maintaining hydroelectric dams in the Upper Columbia River basin. Now the treaty is being updated to reflect 21st century priorities. In a win for environmental groups, the draft recommends:

  • Restoring the Columbia River ecosystem
  • Improving flood management to mitigate damage to salmon habitat and promote healthy fish populations
  • Making adaptation and flexibility in the face of climate change a key priority
  • Partnering with Canada on a new program to improve fish passage so that salmon and other migrating fish can reach their traditional Canadian spawning grounds.

For the full text of the recommendations, visit: http://www.crt2014-2024review.gov

This fall, you’re invited to weigh in on the Draft Recommendations and provide your feedback at public meetings to help finalize the United States negotiating position. We have a once-in-a-lifetime opportunity to turn the Columbia River Treaty into a powerful tool for promoting salmon recovery and combating the effects of climate change. Make your voice heard!

Submit your comments on the Draft Recommendations by October 25

  • Online at www.bpa.gov/comments
  • By email: treatyreview@bpa.gov
  •  By mail: Bonneville Power Administration, PO Box 3621, Portland, OR 97208-3621
  • Via fax: 503-230-4563, Attn: Columbia River Treaty Review Team

Participate in a public meeting

Round table meetings will take place throughout the fall in Montana (Kalispell), Idaho (Boise), Washington (Seattle or Spokane) and Oregon (Portland). Dates and time are still to be determined. For the latest schedule, check the Columbia River Treaty website’s online Calendar of Events, available at: http://www.crt2014-2024review.gov/CurrentMeetingMaterials.aspx

What’s Next?

The Bonneville Power Administration and the Army Corps of Engineers will present their recommendation to the State Department by December 31, 2013. Once the U.S. position is finalized, the State Department will open negotiations with Canada

To learn more, contact John Osborn at john@waterplanet.ws or by phone at 509-939-1290.