Columbia River Treaty talks offer hope for river, native peoples

columbia riverEarth Ministry/Washington Interfaith Power & Light Executive Director LeeAnne Beres and former Earth Ministry board member Rev. John Rosenberg coauthored this OpEd in the Seattle Times about the upcoming renegotiation of the Columbia River Treaty, an intentional treaty between the U.S. and Canada which governs flood management and hydropower production in the Columbia River Basin. In their piece, Beres and Rev. Rosenberg discuss our sacred duty to protect the Columbia River and all creatures who rely on it for physical and spiritual sustenance, including wild salmon and native peoples. The call on decision makers to manage Columbia River dams for healthier river flows and water quality, help struggling fish and wildlife, restore passage for salmon, and reconnect rivers to floodplains.

“Columbia River Treaty talks offer hope for river, native peoples”

By LeeAnne Beres and John Rosenberg
The Seattle Times
January 7, 2018

On Dec. 7, the U.S. State Department announced that formal negotiations with Canada over the Columbia River Treaty will begin early this year. Modernizing the treaty is a once-in-a-generation opportunity to restore one of the world’s great rivers. As religious leaders, we call upon our elected leaders to protect and restore the Columbia River for the common good.

An area the size of France, the Columbia River watershed includes parts of seven states and British Columbia. In Washington, about two-thirds of the state lies within the basin. For Puget Sound, the Columbia supplies salmon for people and starving orcas, crop irrigation, and abundant hydropower for homes and businesses, including generators for “cloud” storage for Microsoft and other IT companies.

When explorers Lewis and Clark first drank from streams flowing into the Columbia, it was among the richest salmon rivers on earth: Tens of millions of wild salmon returned yearly to natal streams to spawn. Salmon have been the life source for the region’s indigenous people from time immemorial to the present. Though we’ve treated it like more like an “organic machine,” the Columbia River is sacred. (Continued…)

To read the entire article in The Seattle Times, please click here