Making Democracy Work

Regional Issue - Columbia River Treaty

Future of the Columbia River Treaty

Save Our wild Salmon Action Alerts: Endangered wild salmon and steelhead in the Columbia-Snake River Basin need healthier, more resilient rivers that connect the ocean and freshwater habitats these iconic fish need to spawn and rear - to survive and thrive. SOS is focused on protecting and restoring the healthier rivers wild salmon need by holding federal and state agencies accountable to our nation's laws and the needs and well-being of our communities. You can show your support for protecting and restoring Pacific Northwest wild salmon and steelhead - and all the benefits they deliver to our communities, wildlife and ecosystems - by contacting your elected officials and targeted policymakers today. Take action below. Share links to this page with your networks. Urge your friends and family to contact their elected officials. Pressure on our elected officials - and support when they do the right thing - is critical to protecting our wild salmon and steelhead and restoring the rivers and watersheds they need. Thank you for contacting your elected officials and targeted policymakers. Please check back here regularly for new and updated actions.

(1) Contact your Elected Officials - your Governor, U.S. Senators, and House Member - in Washington, Oregon and Idaho!
-- Oppose H.R. 3144 (Northwest States, Fall 2017)

(2) Contact Governor Inslee (WA):
-- Salmon - and orca - need help now! Turn up the 'spill' at Columbia Basin dams (Fall 2017)

(3) Contact Governor Brown (OR):
-- Oppose H.R. 3144 - Bad for salmon, orca and communities (Fall 2017)
-- Thank Governor Brown for standing up for wild salmon! (Fall 2017)

And you can sign up for our online newsletter and periodic action alerts HERE.

NEWS: Economic analysis of Columbia River and natural capital was released in early July. Natural capital is immense, and restoring rivers and river health adds to that capital. Hard copies are being printed for distribution. The report and related documents are available online (link)

(Non-LWV Events)
Past Events:

SEP 28, 2017 EVENT: Healing The Columbia - Modernizing a Treaty to sustain a river and its people in the 21st Century Enent Sponsors:American Rivers  *  Center for Environmental Law & Policy  *  Earth Ministry  * League of Women Voters of Washington  *  Save Our Wild Salmon Coalition  *  Sierra Club  *  Upper Columbia United Tribes  *  Columbia Institute for Water Policy

Feb. 16 -VANCOUVER B.C.- Simon Fraser University: Columbia River Treaty
Feb. 22-23 - Climate Change & Columbia River Treaty (Bellingham)
March 10 - Honoring the Coeur d'Alene Tribe - Protecting Lake Coeur d'Alene (mining/smelting waste cleanup
April 18-19 - Castlegar B.C. meeting of the Treaty Round Table - (Selkirk College will host)
May 13 Revelstoke One River, Ethics Matter

2014/2024 Columbia River Treaty Review Recap:

A regional recommendation for a modernized Columbia River Treaty has been submitted to the State Department by the U.S. Entity. It recommends that ecosystem function join flood control and hydropower as the major benefits.

The Columbia River Treaty between the United States and Canada has served as a model of international cooperation since 1964, bringing significant flood control and power generation benefits to both countries.

The year 2024 is a significant date for the Treaty. It marks the end of 60 years of pre-paid flood control space from Canada. In addition, either Canada or the United States can terminate most of the provisions of the Treaty any time on or after Sep. 16, 2024, with a minimum 10 years' written advance notice (hence, the reference to 2014).

Due to the importance of these issues, the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers and the Bonneville Power Administration, the agencies responsible for implementing the Treaty for the United States on behalf of the U.S. Entity, conducted a multi-year effort to study these post-2024 Treaty issues. This effort resulted in the regional recommendation which is supported by the four states and 15 tribes in the Basin.

Treaty web site:

John J Williams Idaho Constituent Account Executive Bonneville Power Administration ~ Constituent Service Office 1109 West Main Street, Suite 315 Boise, Idaho 83702 Phone (208) 338-3017 Cell (208) 867-4978



The ONE RIVER - ETHICS MATTER: WESTERN MONTANA Conference will be held April 11, 2018 at the University of Montana. This is the fifth conference in the Ethics and Treaty Project with prior conferences in Spokane, Portland, Boise, and Revelstoke BC.


New Treaty film released at the Portland Columbia River-Ethics Conference:

As Canada and the United States prepare to negotiate the Columbia River Treaty, a series of conferences are being held to explore the ethical dimensions of the wrenching impacts of dams on the river and people. The conference series "One River, Ethics Matter" is based on the Columbia River Pastoral Letter and seeks to modernize the international river treaty based on stewardship and justice principles.

To watch a 13-minute overview of the Portland conference, connecting the 1948 Vanport Flood with the devastation and permanent flooding of river valleys in the Upper Columbia, click: Portland: One River - Ethics Matter
Voices include:

Leotis McCormack | Executive Committee, Nez Perce Tribe
William Skylstad | Bishop Emeritus, Roman Catholic Church
Edward Washington | Vanport Flood Survivor, Portland
Crystal Spicer | Columbia Basin Revitalization Coalition, Nakusp, BC
Paul Lumley | Executive Director, Columbia River Inter-Tribal Fish Commission, Yakama Nation
Pauline Terbasket | Executive Director, Okanagan Nation Alliance
Rabbi Jonathan Seidel | Light of the Garden Jewish Community
Wilbur Slokish | Hereditary Chief of the Klickitat - Cascade Tribe, Yakama Nation

This film was made possible by Adam Wicks-Arshack and Xander Demetrios (with Voyages of Rediscovery), Shanti Martin (with Fourpoint Media), Heather Beckett and Chelsea Armstrong (with ATRIA), with support from the Columbia River Inter-Tribal Fish Commission.

Please take a moment to watch this short film.
To help, sign the Declaration on Ethics & Modernizing the Columbia River Treaty.

Thank you!

John Osborn MD
The Rev. W. Thomas Soeldner
Ethics & Treaty Project


League of Women Voters Resources

LWVID Position in Brief

Support for minimum stream flows; support for comprehensive planning on a basin-wide basis for conservation, development, and management; support for an inventory of water resources within the basin.
Details of Position
The League of Women Voters of Idaho is concerned about the many uses of the Columbia River beyond the generation of electricity. Minimum stream flows should be established as a public right and maintained on streams in the Columbia River Basin. Regional planning policy should provide for irrigated agriculture as well as for the protection and enhancement of anadromous and resident fish.
In order to meet the present and future needs within the Columbia River Basin, the League of Women Voters of Idaho believes comprehensive planning on a basin-wide basis for conservation, development and management of water is essential to the optimum utilization of our water resources. Machinery is needed which will provide coordinated planning and administration among federal, state and other agencies and establish a process for resolving conflicts among uses. Procedures should be established which provide information and an opportunity for citizen participation in policy decisions affecting water resources development. The federal government has a role in financing water resources development, but state and local government and private users should share such costs based on benefits received and the ability to pay.
The League believes that wise planning for the use of water in the Columbia River Basin requires an inventory of the water resources within the basin. This inventory should include all water-related rights, current use and projected needs. This information should be readily available to concerned agencies and the general public. (Adopted May, 1981, reorganized May, 1988)
The 1979 LWVI Convention voted to work with Washington, Oregon and Montana Leagues to promote coordinated multi-purpose management of Columbia River Basin waters through an inter-League task force. With the Oregon and Washington Leagues, LWVI has supported protection for Hells Canyon. Most recently LWVI support Protected Areas amendments of the Northwest Power Planning Council limiting segments of Northwest streams from future hydropower development to benefit anadromous and resident fish and to enhance wildlife habitat. The League has worked for minimum stream flow legislation and the "Water/Power" initiative to set minimum stream flows and continues to support establishment of base flows for individual streams.

Great River of the West - Columbia River; by LWV Idaho, LWV Montana, LWV Oregon, LWV Washington - 1959

1959 Columbia River Basin, Seattle LWV Study


The Upper Columbia United Tribes have a plan to provide fish passage and reintroduction into the Upper Columbia River Basin.

Columbia River Treaty Resources

Concerned Organizations

Treaty Parties - The Bonneville Power Administration and the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers support the U.S. Entity as well as the U.S. Department of State. B.C. Hydro and Power Authority supports the Canadian Entity, the Province of British Columbia, and the Canadian Department of Foreign Affairs and International Trade. Contact:

For more information about these organizations:

U.S. Army Corps of Engineers -- Northwestern Division
Bonneville Power Administration
B.C. Hydro and Power Authority
British Columbia -- Ministry of Energy, Mines, and Petroleum Resources
NW Energy Coalition
Northwest Power and Conservation Council

Library of Reports/Papers/Videos