Left: Columbia River roundtable members in Slocan. Right: Salmo(n) River chinook salmon late 1930s.

Columbia River roundtable calls for ecosystem restoration

Restoration of the Upper Columbia River salmon runs was just one of several objectives adopted by the Columbia River roundtable.

Submitted to the Castlegar News

Restoration of the historic Upper Columbia River salmon runs was just one of several objectives adopted by the Columbia River roundtable Canadian caucus, an ad hoc group of environmentalists from the East and West Kootenays that met in Slocan City recently.

Salmon and steelhead runs used to cross the Canadian border in the millions every year after migrating more than 1,500 km up the Columbia River from the Pacific Ocean. But the mammoth runs came to an end in Canada after completion of the Grand Coulee Dam in the US in 1939.

Cessation of the ancient runs on what was once the greatest salmon river in the world was a devastating blow to aboriginal culture and well-being and a historic wrong committed against the aboriginal peoples of North America.

A recovery plan, developed by the Upper Columbia United Tribes and First Nations, will have one of its first unveilings at the Lake Roosevelt Forum in Spokane on April 21 and 22.

“The tribes and First Nations will be giving their first broad, public presentation of the plan at the forum and the roundtable is excited to hear what people think of it. The roundtable supports this plan,” said Gerry Nellestijn of the roundtable.

“We recognize the huge benefit that salmon reintroduction will give to Columbia River ecosystem function.”

Meanwhile members of the Canadian Columbia River roundtable caucus will continue the transboundary partnership with the American Columbia River roundtable caucus to restore ecosystem function to rivers that have been engineered for commercial benefits on both sides of the border: power production, flood control, shipping, irrigation and consumptive uses.

Fish species, mammals, water fowl and plant life that used to thrive when the river flowed free have been greatly impacted by storage and flow regimes dictated by the Columbia River Treaty.

The round table calls on citizens, businesses and other organizations in Canada and the US to support an “updated and modernized” Columbia River Treaty. The group’s six-point statement of principles suggests this could be done in a number of ways.

These include: restoration of ecosystem function on the river, creating resilience to climate change, reducing the harmful impacts of dams and reservoirs, restoration of salmon and other anadromous species, honouring and supporting the efforts of First Nations and tribes to bring the river back to ecological health and meaningfully engaging all people affected by hydro-electric development in the Columbia Basin.

An interim steering committee was also struck at the meeting consisting of Gerry Nellestijn, Ed McGinnis, Denise Dufault, Janet Spicer and David Reid, who will carry on the roundtable’s work for the next six months.

The group will work on strategic planning, researching alternative energy sources, funding issues, public outreach and strategies for reducing negative environmental impacts on the Columbia and the riparian lands surrounding it.

The group would also like to see the BC government “explicitly acknowledge” ecosystem function as an equal benefit to power production and flood risk management in the upcoming Columbia River Treaty negotiations.

For more information or to become involved contact Gerry Nellestijn at gerry@streamkeepers.bc.ca

 

Just Posted

Nelson rejects plastic bag ban, opts for education and awareness

Council will collaborate with Chamber of Commerce

Nelson U-Haul shutting down

Kootenay Glass and Mirror will no longer provide the service as of July 12

Search for missing Salmo motorcyclist called off for the time being

RCMP say no evidence of Cory McKay’s whereabouts was found Thursday

Huckleberry harvesting restricted in Kootenay-Boundary region

Critical foraging zones for grizzly bear and other wildlife species

Silverton commits to 100% renewable energy by 2050

The villages joins pledges made by Nelson, New Denver, Rossland and the RDCK

‘Bad choices make good stories’: Margaret Trudeau brings her show to Just for Laughs

Trudeau says over the decades she has been suicidal, manic, depressed

B.C. couple bring son home from Nigeria after long adoption delay

Kim and Clark Moran of Abbotsford spent almost a year waiting to finalize adoption of Ayo, 3

Health Canada revokes licences of B.C.-based pot producer Agrima Botanicals

The agency said it notified the company of a suspension in November due to non-compliance with regulations

Deals, protests during Amazon Prime Day

The Seattle-based e-commerce behemoth says it is offering more than a million deals

Canadian national softball team wins second straight Canada Cup

Team Canada defeats Texas-based Scrapyard International in gold-medal game Sunday in Surrey

June sees drop in home sales, prices for real estate across B.C.: report

Sales dropped by 11.8%, while prices fell by 4%

Video captures driver narrowly avoiding hitting Granfondo cyclists in Okanagan

“I’m just glad that everything aligned enough and no one got hurt,” said Shaun Siebert

Most Read