Water: law/policy/politics/ethics/art/science

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Grand Coulee Fish Passage Getting Attention

Salmon Chief Spokane Falls (Luke Wiley photo)The idea of salmon above Grand Coulee dam is getting a lot of attention these days, both artistic and scientific.  Naiads readers are encouraged take two actions:  (1) view the movie and (2) comment on the proposal.  Details below.

Naiads has previously reported on the intrepid Columbia River paddlers who traveled from Astoria, Oregon to Canal Flats, B.C. in the summer and fall of 2014.  They have just released a new film that examines the potential for salmon restoration through the lens of their journey.  The 35-minute movie, Treaty Talks: Paddling Up the Columbia River for People and Salmon, takes the viewer up the river and into the lives of the Spokane and Colville Tribes kids who carved the dugout canoes, along with many others who dream about and are dedicated to salmon restoration.

The Columbia Canoe Journey was undertaken by Voyages of Rediscovery, aka Adam Wicks-Arshack, Xander Demetrios, John Malik, and Jay Callahan.  It’s an inspiring and beautiful film.

The film was sponsored by Upper Columbia United Tribes or UCUT, a consortium of five tribes in the Upper Columbia basin that serves to protect and restore the natural resources of those tribes – covering 2 million acres and lands and waters located within the states of Washington and Idaho.

UCUT has been instrumental in promoting a serious policy discussion about salmon reintroduction above Grand Coulee dam.  See related posts on this blog discussing the Columbia River Treaty recommendations and other documents.

UCUT has now released for public comment the Phase 1 Plan for the Upper Columbia Basin Fish Passage and Reintroduction Project.  Comments on the plan are welcome and due to UCUT on February 27, 2015.   It’s a well-constructed plan that will

UCUT’s Phase 1 Plan follows on the NW Power & Conservation Council’s October 2014 adoption of the Columbia Basin Fish & Wildlife Program. The program plan calls for a phased approach to study and implement reintroduction of anadromous fish (salmon, steelhead, eels and other species) to areas where fish migrated historically, but which are now blocked due to dams and etc.



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Columbia Canoe Journey Nearly Home

Columbia Lake (headwaters of the Columbia River, flowing north) and the Kootenay River (flowing south), pass within a mile near Canal Flats, B.C. (

The Columbia Canoe Journey, Sea2Source, will arrive in Canal Flats, B.C.,  on Monday, October 28.  The intrepid paddlers have traveled 1240 miles from the Pacific Ocean to the uppermost headwaters of the Columbia River, bringing a message of restoration:  return salmon above the dams to their ancestral waters.

Canal Flats is an extraordinary spot in the geography of the Columbia Basin.  The upper Kootenay River passes by only one mile away from the Columbia, but the watersheds are separate.  The two rivers do not meet until after flowing for hundreds of miles in different directions.

The Sea2Source canoe journey has published a new video, which can be viewed on their Facebook page, Voyages of Rediscovery.

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Columbia Paddlers Make Canada

Sea2Source Expedition heads into Canada (photo: Adam Wicks-Arshack)

The Sea2Source Canoe Journey arrived in Castlegar, British Columbia yesterday, and sets out today for a long voyage up the Arrow Lakes.

Castegar News described their arrival in B.C., accompanied by Sinixt Native paddlers.

“Right now everything’s coming together so well with the Columbia River Treaty,” related Adam Wicks-Arshack. “It’s really the perfect time to start getting the public going. Because there’s a lot of stuff going on behind closed doors with politicians, but we need the public to start pushing, making their voice heard that we want the salmon back.”

“We’ve talked to thousands of people,” Wicks-Arshack elaborated. “Nobody is against having salmon… everyone wants the salmon back.”

Link here for the Castlegar News full story.

You can follow the Sea2Source Columbia Canoe Journey on Facebook.

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Bon Voyage Columbia Canoe Journey

The Columbia Canoe journey is shoving off tomorrow, Monday September 30th, leaving Kettle Falls and paddling toward the international border and into British Columbia. They’ve built a beautiful new cedar plank canoe in the “David Thompson” style.

New cedar plank canoe headed to B.C. (photo: Adam Wicks-Arshack 2013)


The canoeists are bringing attention to lack of fish passage on the Columbia River and how that’s affecting upper Columbia people, tribes, cultures and ecology in both Canada and the U.S.

Yesterday they got a big welcome in Canada via an article in the Globe & Mail that shows the connections between their journey and the upcoming renegotiation of the Columbia River Treaty.  Link to the article here.

The original canoeists will be joined by Sinixt paddlers as they head into Canada.  The Sinixt are a transboundary indigenous peoples, recognized as one of the 14 Bands of the Confederated Colville Tribes, but (unjustly) declared “extinct” in British Columbia.  You can follow their journey at the Voyages of Rediscovery Facebook page.

Fair sailing, John, Xander, Adam, Jay and all who join you!



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Dugout Canoes Return to Wellpinit, Inchelium

The Voyages of Rediscovery crew are in Kettle Falls, Washington, building a cedar plank canoe for the next stretch of their journey – across the U.S.-Canada border and on to the headwaters of the Columbia River.

Salmon Savior and kids (Sept. 2013) (A Wicks-Arshack)

Wellpinit schoolkids paddling their hand-made dugout canoe to Little Falls (Sept. 2013) (photo: Adam Wicks-Arshack)

The two big dugout canoes that paddled from the Pacific Ocean were built by students at Wellpinit, on the Spokane Reservation, and Inchelium, on the Colville Reservation.  Those canoes were returned to their communities in the past few days.  Students paddled the Wellpinit canoe, Salmon Savior, all the way to Little Falls, the original dam that blocked salmon passage into the Spokane River.

Adam Wicks-Arshack displays his trademark enthusiasm for the task of building a new canoe:

Columbia Cedar in Kettle Falls donated enough choice cedar to build the new canoe in the David Thompson style.  The wood comes from a sustainable harvest under the forest stewardship program (no clear cuts).  It is also the most beautiful, clear no-knots cedar we have ever worked with.  So we are excited.  And we invite people up to Kettle Falls Historical Center to help, learn and talk.

Voyages of Rediscovery has put out another short video of their journey from Grand Coulee to Little Falls:

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Columbia Canoe Journey Arrives at Grand Coulee

The “Sea2Source” Columbia River canoeists have arrived at Grand Coulee dam after leaving Astoria, Oregon on August 1st.  Their mission is to paddle to the Columbia headwaters in Canal Flats, B.C.  Along the way, they are educating kids and adults about the salmon that once migrated throughout the entire 1,240-mile river system, and the dams that presently block that migration.

Canoe Journey - Lake Rufus Woods

Sea To Source canoe on Lake Rufus Woods, Sept. 2013

Adam Wicks-Arshack and his fellow canoeists invite interested folks to join them to paddle up Lake Roosevelt, departing from Seatons Grove boat launch on Saturday, Sept. 7 at 7:30 a.m. and from Keller Ferry on Sunday, Sept. 8, paddling to Two Rivers.

Next week the Sea2Source canoe journey will travel from the confluence of the Spokane and Columbia Rivers, up the Spokane River to Little Falls — the first dam that blocked salmon from migrating up to Spokane Falls in 1910.   Spokane Tribe schoolkids (who helped build one of the dugout canoes) will join the paddle, and some form of public event will be happening toward the end of the week of September 9th.  Stay tuned – we’ll post as soon as we get the date and location.

You can contact the Sea2Source canoe journey at or 917-684-4247.

Follow them on Facebook or the Voyages of Rediscovery website.

The Sea2Source journey needs support.  Your contributions are welcome and can be made here.


Columbia Canoe Journey: Bringing Attention to Fish Barriers on the Columbia River

A remarkable Columbia River journey is underway.  Voyages of Rediscovery, a river-based environmental education program, is paddling two dugout canoes up the Columbia River — making the 1,240-mile journey from the Pacific Ocean at Astoria, Oregon to Canal Flats, British Columbia.   Their mission is to bring public attention to the lack of fish passage at dams on the Columbia River.

The hand-carved canoes were built with the help of young students from the Spokane Indian Reservation and the Colville Reservation.

Today, August 17, the Columbia Canoe Journey is in the Tri-Cities, having traveled 330 river miles from the mouth of the River since August 2.  Here’s a note from Adam Wicks-Arschak, one of the organizers:

We are currently at Tri-Cities.  The trip has thus far been blessed by great tail winds and we have sailed most of the way up river from the ocean where we started on Aug. 2nd.

We paddle in honor of the salmon who can no longer reach their ancestral spawning grounds of the upper Columbia River.  Along the way we have been talking to hundreds of people on the river and sparking conversations about salmon and fish passage issues.  Once schools start up we will be doing presentations and paddling events at the schools.

In particular the schools who carved the canoes will be joining us on portions of the trip.  The Spokane Tribe and Colville Tribe will join us from Chief Joseph (dam) up to their respective communities of Wellpinit and Inchelium.  This will be very powerful, to paddle these salmon-inspired canoes with the youth who carved them, up into the historic spawning grounds of the upper Columbia River.

You can check out a great video about the creation of the two canoes that are making the journey at Voyages for Rediscovery’s website.

Hood River News ran an article about the canoe journey on August 9, as the crew came through the Gorge.

We’ll keep you updated on the journey as it comes up the River.