Columbia River water management may enter the 21st Century if the Secretary of State John Kerry is willing to listen and advocate for saving salmon in the Pacific Northwest of the U.S. (and the Pacific Southwest of Canada). On Friday, September 20, Bonneville Power Administration (BPA) and the Army Corps of Engineers (ACE) issued a draft set of recommendations for modernizing the Columbia River Treaty.
- Two recommendations of interest:
- First, the agencies propose that a modernized Treaty include ecosystem-based function” (aka environmental restoration) as an explicit purpose of the Treaty, on equal par with hydropower generation and flood control.
- Second, the agencies recommend that the U.S. work with Canada to figure out fish passage at Chief Joseph and Grand Coulee dams so that salmon can return to the upper Columbia River in Canada.
- You can link here to the draft recommendations and cover letter. BPA and ACE are accepting comments on this draft proposal until October 25th. (More info will be posted here in early October for readers interested in submitting comments).
- The recommendations are not perfect, and there are other elements that need improvement. But this is BIG movement on restoring salmon health to the Columbia, healing a century-plus of damage to tribal and public interests, and addressing the impacts of climate change.