In this issue, you’ll find articles about Ecology’s Rural Water Supply Workgroup, the success of CELP’s December 3rd CLE event, and our most recent job opening. You will also be introduced to our new Board Chair and Vice Chair, Daryl Williams and John Roskelley, enjoy the poetry of Tina Wynecoop, and more.
Check out the September edition of our newsletter, Washington Water Watch. You will find an article on our recent legal action to stop pollution from the Leavenworth Hatchery, Ecology’s new Reclaimed Water Rule, an update on our H2KNOW campaign, and information about a conference we are sponsoring about modernizing the Columbia River Treaty, “One River. Ethics Matter”. You will also find information about CELP’s upcoming events.
Save the Date: Saturday October 24 at the University of Portland
One month after Pope Francis speaks to Congress, we invite you to join us at the University of Portland’s Buckley Center Auditorium on Saturday, October 24 from 8 am – 4 pm, for a discussion about ethics and the future of the Columbia River. This event is free and open to the public, and lunch will be provided.
Modeled on South Africa’s “Truth and Reconciliation” public meetings, “One River, Ethics Matter” is a conference series exploring the moral dimensions of the impacts of the dam-building era with a focus on tribes, First Nations and the river itself. Gonzaga University hosted the first conference from which issued the Declaration on Ethics & Modernizing the Columbia River Treaty signed by religious and indigenous leaders and many others. Please join us for the second of these conferences with a focus on flood-risk management, climate change, justice, and stewardship. We’ll explore measures to correct historic injustice — including less environmentally damaging options to protect Portland from floods and restoring salmon to ancestral spawning grounds. Support is growing to expand the treaty’s original purposes (flood risk management and hydropower) by adding a third purpose: “ecosystem function” to restore health to the Columbia River, including the return of salmon to ancestral spawning waters.
The Portland conference will open with Bishop William Skylstad, the force behind the Columbia River Pastoral Letter, and Leotis McCormack (Nez Perce Tribe and Columbia River Inter-Tribal Fish Commission) speaking on indigenous people, salmon, and the river. Other speakers will include Virgil Seymour who will describe the fate of the Sinixt Nation located in the Upper Columbia and declared “extinct” by Canada in 1956 during Treaty negotiations with the United States. Crystal Spicer will describe the valiant effort by her father to save their family home and farm while 2,300 people were forced by the B.C. government to relocated. The conference will conclude with a discussion of the current opportunities to modernize the Columbia River Treaty that governs management of the River, while underscoring the need to revisit flood risk management.
International water conflicts are a growing global risk in the face of climate change. “One River, Ethics Matter” intends to use the Columbia River Pastoral Letter and the tools used by hospital ethics committees to help establish a water ethic as foundational for international decisions on water.
RSVP contact: Belgin Inan firstname.lastname@example.org 503.943.8342
RSVP deadline: October 16
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History of the Creation of the Columbia River Treaty
The 1948 flooding of the city of Vanport, outside of Portland, helped launch the creation of the Columbia River Treaty. To provide housing for Kaiser shipyard workers and their families, the Columbia River was diked and public housing built on the floodplain in 1942. Adjacent to Portland near the confluence of the Columbia and Willamette Rivers, Vanport was at one point Oregon’s second largest city. In 1948 during a flood event, the dikes gave way. The flooding of Vanport was the Hurricane Katrina story of its day. Fifteen people died, and the city was destroyed.
But the story did not end there. Vanport was used to justify the need for more flood protection – resulting in the damming and permanent flooding of river valleys in interior British Columbia and Montana – the “Treaty dams.” These dams came at the end of the dam-building era in the Columbia that transformed the River into a machine with devastating consequences for salmon, tribes and First Nations, and the river itself. Today the great salmon gathering places of Celilo Falls and Kettle Falls are underwater, flooded by reservoirs.
Thanks to Our Conference Sponsors
McNerney-Hanson Chair in Ethics * Columbia River Inter-Tribal Fish Commission * Columbia Basin Revitalization Coalition * Environmental Studies Department, University of Portland * Okanagan Nation Alliance * Upper Columbia United Tribes * Ecumenical Ministries of Oregon * Upper Snake River Tribes Foundation * Pacific Rivers Council * WaterWatch of Oregon * Citizens for a Clean Columbia * Columbia Riverkeeper * Salmo Watershed Streamkeepers Society * Sweo Chair in Engineering * Center for Environmental Law & Policy * The Roskelley Family * Molter Chair in Science * Save Our wild Salmon * Garaventa Center for Catholic Intellectual Life and American Culture * Columbia Institute for Water Policy * Loo Wit Group, Sierra Club * Backcountry Hunters and Anglers, Washington State Chapter * ATRIA * Francis Maltby * Oregon Chapter, Sierra Club * Oregon Synod, Evangelical Lutheran Church in America
Conference Links –
In this month’s newsletter, you’ll find an update on Washington’s drought, an article about the H2KNOW campaign currently going on in Spokane, a profile of Frank James, one of CELP’s board members, and more water news.
Check it out here.
Check out our May edition of Washington Water Watch – we discuss the EPA’s new Clean Water Rule, a report released in January 2015 by Earth Economics about Outdoor Recreation in WA, and give updates on litigation and CELP in the News.
Thanks to our sponsors and all who attended, Celebrate Water was a huge success! Thanks to our CLE presenters, Jean Melious and Patrick Williams, for educating us on current Supreme Court cases concerning Water Rights, Land Use, and Instream Flows. We also heard presentations from Rachael Paschal Osborn about the Columbia River Treaty, and from Adam Wicks-Arshack about his organization, Voyages of Rediscovery, and their work facilitating educational expeditions on the Columbia River. They have published a video, Treaty Talks, about their expedition up the Columbia River from the sea to the source in Canada.
We had the pleasure of honoring the Upper Columbia United Tribes with the Ralph W. Johnson Water Hero Award in recognition of their efforts towards restoring salmon and the Columbia River. By honoring UCUT, this award also recognizes and honors all 15 Tribes and 17 First Nations of the Columbia Basin for their leadership towards these goals in the United States and Canada respectively.
Thank you to our many sponsors for their support, including: Bob Anderson & Marilyn Heiman, Columbia Institute for Water Policy, UW School of Law – Native American Law Center, Carnegie Group of Thurston County, South Sound Group Sierra Club, Voyages of Rediscovery, Family of Ralph Johnson, Adidas Outdoor, Northwest Swan Conservation Cooperative, Ted Knight, Attorney at Law, Law Offices of Shannon Work, Howard Funke, Kootenai Tribe of Idaho, Fran & Bunny Wood, and the League of Women Voters of Washington.
Here are more photos from the event – all photos are by Jon Anscher Photography.
Upper Columbia United Tribes to be honored for at Celebrate Water for their work to restore salmon to Upper Columbia River
15 Tribes and 17 First Nations press to modernize Columbia River Treaty; await decision from the U.S. State Department
On May 21 Center for Environmental Law & Policy (CELP) will honor Upper Columbia United Tribes (UCUT) with the Ralph W. Johnson Water Hero Award. Recognizing UCUT comes at an especially pivotal time in the history of our region: the U.S. State Department is poised to decide whether to negotiate with Canada over the future of the Columbia River. The honoring event will be held at Ivar’s Salmon House in Seattle as part of Celebrate Water! an annual event focusing on the future of water in Washington State, hosted by CELP.
The Upper Columbia United Tribes (UCUT) is being honored with the Ralph W. Johnson Water Hero Award for their work in restoring the Upper Columbia River region, including their central role in restoring salmon above Grand Coulee Dam. By honoring UCUT, this award also recognizes and honors all 15 tribes and 17 First Nations of the Columbia Basin for their leadership in restoring salmon and the Columbia River. (view map of the Columbia Basin’s 15 tribes, 17 First Nations, and fish barriers)
In December 2013 federal agencies recommended to the State Department that the United States include restoring the ecosystem as a primary purpose of an updated Columbia River Treaty, along with hydropower and flood control, a feature that will make the Treaty a model of international water management. All four Northwest states, 15 Columbia Basin tribes, fishermen and environmentalists support that recommendation.
In the Upper Columbia, dams have devastated fisheries and profoundly damaged tribes and indeed the entire region. The Upper Columbia United Tribes (UCUT) provides a common voice for the Upper Columbia River region through the collaboration of five major area tribes: the Coeur d’Alene Tribe, the Kalispel Tribe of Indians, the Kootenai Tribe of Idaho, the Spokane Tribe of Indians, and the Confederated Tribes of the Colville Reservation. UCUT was formed to ensure a healthy future for the traditional territorial lands of Tribal ancestors and takes a proactive and collaborative approach to promoting Indian culture, fish, water, wildlife and habitat.
Celebrate Water! will be held at Ivar’s Salmon House in Seattle, WA on May 21, 2015 from 4:00-7:30pm. A one-credit Continuing Legal Education (CLE) workshop Water Rights, Land Use, Instream Flows: Current Supreme Court Cases will be held from 4:00-5:00pm. The Celebrate Water reception will take place from 5:30-7:30pm and will include the honoring of UCUT. Tickets are $50 (reception), $30 (CLE) and $70 (CLE and reception). More information is available at Celebrate Water!
About the Award
Ralph W. Johnson Award is given in honor of CELP’s founder, Professor Ralph W. Johnson. Professor Johnson co-founded CELP (along with Rachael Paschal Osborn), founded Indian Law, advocated for indigenous people and justice in the salmon wars, and whose jurisprudence was foundational to the Boldt decision. Past recipients of the award include the Swinomish Indian Tribal Community and Billy Frank Jr., on behalf of the Northwest Indian Fisheries Commission.
Click here to read our newest installment of the Washington Water Watch newsletter.
This month, you’ll find articles introducing our new Staff Attorney, Dan Von Seggern, discussing the drought declaration in the state, the status of the Enloe Dam Hydro Project, a summary of the recently released”Freshwater Withdrawals in WA, 2010″ report, and more.
Don’t miss our March edition of Washington Water Watch!
Click here to see the PDF version of our newsletter.
This month you’ll find articles about CELP’s recent victory in our Spokane River PCB challenge, the positive outcome of our Columbia River challenge, updates on other water issues and the Legislative session, an introduction to our new Development and Outreach Coordinator, and more.
If you aren’t already signed up to receive our monthly newsletter, sign up at the bottom of the page.
The five Tribes of UCUT are the Confederated Tribes of the Colville Reservation, the Spokane Tribe of Indians, the Kalispel Tribe of Indians, the Coeur d’Alene Tribe, and the Kootenai Tribe of Idaho.
Even while Canada and the United States continue to posture on modernizing the Columbia River Treaty, UCUT is moving forward with the first phase to return salmon home to ancestral spawning waters of the Upper Columbia. This is an historically important first step. The Tribes (and First Nations in Canada) need public support to bring the salmon home.
In 1942, 450 years after Columbus stepped foot in the Americas and less than 140 years after David Thompson and Lewis & Clark stepped foot into the Columbia River Basin, the gates at Grand Coulee dam in the U.S. closed with the tacit approval of the Canadian government. No passage was provided for the millions of salmon returning each year to the Upper Columbia, as key species for the environment. Tribes and First Nations were never consulted.
What were the consequences of those Columbia River dams — besides cheap power for communities like Seattle, flood control for Portland, and other benefits mostly for non-Indian people? For indigenous people, the salmon, and the river ecosystem, the consequences were devastating. With the closing of those gates at Grand Coulee dam, the waters began to rise. A whole way of life in those river valleys that had existed from “time immemorial” was drowned, permanently flooded.
Traumas move through generations. Suicide rates remain high on Indian reservations, especially among Indian youth. In recent months, both the Spokane Tribe of Indians and the Colvilles have declared suicide emergencies. Recognizing that mental health and ecosystem health are linked, and the importance of salmon to their cultures, all five Tribes are moving forward with returning salmon to the Upper Columbia. Their efforts in rebuilding the salmon runs of the Upper Columbia benefits all people – indigenous or nonindgenous – in the Columbia Basin, Puget Sound, and the West Coast.
As a region, we have never confronted what happened here to these people as a result of the dam-building era. As Bishop Skylstad so eloquently spoke at the Gonzaga University conference last May on Ethics & the Treaty: Righting Historic Wrongs,
“Have we, as a dominant culture — and sometimes a domineering culture — said to our native peoples, ‘Will you forgive us?’ Have we done that? I don’t think we have.”
On May 21 at Ivar’s Salmon House in Seattle, we will be honoring UCUT (and through them, the indigenous people of the Upper Columbia) for their leadership in restoring salmon and the river. CELP is also working with UCUT to promote a new film, Treaty Talks that helps tell the story.
– Spokesman Review, Upper Columbia Tribes seek to restore river’s salmon runs