The Columbia Rolls On: A Vision for the Future
Modernizing a treaty to sustain a river and its people into the 21st Century
Presented by the Wenatchee Valley Museum:
Speaker panel discussion highlights the history, status and opportunities related to the historic Columbia River Treaty and its renegotiation. Panelists include Chelan County PUD General Manager Steve Wright, “A River Captured” author Eileen Delahanty Pearkes and John Sirois of the Upper Columbia United Tribes. The program is moderated by Museum board member Sara Rolfs and sponsored by the Wenatchee River Institute and the Cascade Columbia Fisheries Enhancement Group. It is a part of the Wenatchee Valley Environmental Film and Lecture Series.
Each speaker will share their unique perspectives and stories about how the 50-year-old Columbia River Treaty has impacted river communities and offer insights into what an updated, modernized Columbia River Treaty has the potential to create in terms of sustaining and restoring the Columbia River and its people during a time of climate change and uncertainty. The treaty is an agreement established 50 years ago between Canada and the United States to jointly manage hydropower production and flood management. While this agreement brought important benefits to the Northwest, it also caused catastrophic harm to the river’s health and communities on both sides of the international border.
The panel discussion is in four parts beginning with Steve Wright’s experiences with the treaty and his ideas for a balanced solution providing broad benefits to the Pacific Northwest. Author Eileen Delahunty Pearkes’ portion of the presentation is titled “Healing the Columbia” and features historical images and details the losses to the river basin as the result of the original treaty. John Sirois shares the historical perspective of the river from a First Nations point of view and talks about the importance of restoring salmon runs above Grand Coulee and Chief Joseph dams. After the three presentations, there will be an opportunity for guests to ask questions of the panel.
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