Please help us to send wild salmon and healthy river leaders to Washington D.C. in September!
Dear Salmon and River Advocates,
Next month, Save Our wild Salmon will lead an important trip to our nation’s capital. We'll be part of a delegation of conservation and faith leaders from the Pacific Northwest spending several days in Washington D.C. in order to meet with Administration officials, Senators and House members, to advocate for modernizing the 1964 U.S.–Canada Columbia River Treaty.
I am writing to ask for your help.
Modernizing the 50-year old Columbia River Treaty is a once-only opportunity to dramatically improve the most important international Treaty affecting the Northwest. Though it has produced valuable power production and flood control, the current Treaty has harmed the Columbia River, its watershed, fish and wildlife, and communities and livelihoods that rely upon these resources, while also ignoring the culture, needs and rights of Columbia Basin Indian Tribes and Canadian First Nations.
With a long list of endangered species and the mounting impacts of climate change, we must add a new third purpose to the Treaty to join power and flood control: ecosystem function – the health of the river. Adding this third Treaty purpose will benefit Northwest ecology, economies and culture. Achieving it is the key goal and message of our trip to Washington D.C.
Other much better resourced interests are spending lots of time in D.C. urging other objectives. It is critical that our voices and interests are also heard. Federal agencies led by the State Department are deciding now whether to invite Canada into negotiations for a modern Treaty, and whether adding ecosystem function will be one of the U.S. goals in the negotiation.
Traveling to our nation’s capitol for in-person meetings with key decision-makers will ensure that our voice – your voice – is heard. But these trips are expensive: airfare, local transportation, hotels and food add up. There are also many hours of staff time to plan and execute the trip, and then to follow up effectively.
So I'm asking for your help to ensure that this “D.C. Shuttle” by river and salmon advocates next month is as impactful as possible. Please make an online donation today (or checks can be mailed the old-fashioned way, our address is below). We’re doing all we can to keep costs down – right now five people are scheduled to travel from the Northwest to Washington D.C. for three days of meetings. Our goal is to raise $6,000 to help cover staff and travel expenses.
Please consider making a gift of $25, $50, $100, or more if you are able. Our deadline for raising $6,000 is Friday, August 29. Thank you in advance; we are very grateful for your support.
Below is some background on the Columbia River Treaty and how we are working to modernize it. If you have specific questions about this project, the Treaty, or the broader work of SOS, please write or call me directly (contact information below).
Background on the Columbia River Treaty – and our opportunity to modernize it.
In 1964, the United States and Canada entered into the Columbia River Treaty whereby the U.S. paid for the construction of four large dams and reservoirs in Canada, which provide extensive annual power and flood control benefits in the U.S. The Treaty was a product of its day, focused entirely on power and flood control. The health of the Columbia and its watershed were not considered, and U.S. Indian Tribes and Canadian First Nations that were profoundly damaged by the new dams were not consulted or given any role in Treaty implementation.
It’s time for a modern treaty that reflects our knowledge, values, and needs in the 21st Century, and that redresses the wrong done by the current Treaty to the native people of the Columbia Basin. In particular, adding ecosystem function to the Treaty is vital so both nations and both peoples can work together in coming decades to respond to the massive changes global warming has begun making in the Columbia watershed. After several years of regional discussions and analyses coordinated by the Bonneville Power Administration and Army Corps of Engineers, last December the Northwest delivered a Regional Recommendation to the State Department. Among other provisions, it recommended that ecosystem function be added to the Treaty as a co-equal purpose. Save Our wild Salmon joined other Northwest stakeholders to support this Regional Recommendation. It isn't all we hoped for, but it's a consensus document, supported by all key Northwest stakeholders, which if adopted will greatly improve the Treaty. The State Department is leading an inter-agency review to decide if it will recommend that the White House embrace the Regional Recommendation and move forward to invite Canada into negotiations. On our trip to D.C., we will meet with Administration officials and agencies, and Northwest members of Congress. We will express our support for the Regional Recommendation, in particular its proposals to add ecosystem function as a third Treaty purpose, and to initiate talks with Canada to modernize the Treaty. We will support the Treaty-based Tribal and First Nations initiative to restore fish passage above currently-impassable dams, and urge a prompt regional flood management review to help Columbia Basin communities and people prepare for the coming expiration of Treaty flood provisions, and for climate change.
Go here for more information on our work to modernize the Treaty.
As always, thank you for your support,
811 First Ave, #305
Seattle, WA 98104