The U.S. and Canada need to right historic wrongs and honor the Northwest’s consensus to restore the health of the river.
Negotiations over the future of this transboundary relationship began in May 2018 and are ongoing. The final agreement must make ‘ecosystem health’ an essential purpose and include tribes and First Nations.
In 1961, the United States and Canada signed an agreement to jointly manage a shared resource – the Columbia River. A creature of its time, the Treaty excluded all values except power production and flood control. As a result, Treaty dams failed to consult the public, ignored affected Tribes and First Nations, displaced many rural communities, entrenched salmon barriers, and drowned ecologically rich habitat. Today, the Treaty continues to control river flows only for hydropower and flood control. With the ongoing renegotiation of this agreement, our two countries have a once-in-a-lifetime opportunity to right historic wrongs and develop new tools and priorities to help us navigate the challenges we face in the 21st Century and the era of climate change. SOS is working with other NGOs and in coordination with indigenous sovereigns to advocate for a better future.