Check out the latest edition of our monthly newsletter, Washington Water Watch. In this month’s issue you’ll find an article on the current water bills in the Washington State legislature, an update on CELP’s recent motion for summary judgment in the Leavenworth National fish hatchery case, an article on the Lyre-Hoko watershed, and a notice about our upcoming Spokane event, Winter Waters.
Protecting Lake Coeur d’Alene – Water is Life
Winter Waters Celebration, March 10 – Honoring the Coeur d’Alene Tribe
When: March 10 (Friday) 6:30 p.m. – 9:30
Where: Spokane – historic Patsy Clark Mansion, 2208 W. 2nd Ave
What: Honoring our heroes – also music, desserts and other small foods, wines
Tickets: $35 per person (purchase on-line or at the door)
To help sponsor the event or for more information, contact: John Osborn MD firstname.lastname@example.org 509.939-1290
- Protecting Lake Coeur d’Alene (must see – short film)
Sponsors: Honoring the Coeur d’Alene Tribe
Upper Columbia United Tribes * Bishop William Sklystad * Eastern Washington-Idaho Synod, Evangelical Lutheran Church in America * Eymann Allison Hunter Jones P.S. * Linda Finney & W. Thomas Soeldner * John & Joyce Roskelley * EnviroScience * Kathy Dixon * Columbia Institute for Water Policy * Rachael & John Osborn
Honoring the Tribe
In the homeland of the Coeur d’Alene Tribe, nearly a century of hard-rock mining in the Coeur d’Alene Mining District led to release of massive mining and smelting wastes into streams and rivers. The extent of the pollution is truly staggering. There would be no cleanup — no hope for protecting Lake Coeur d’Alene and the Spokane River from mining pollution — without the Coeur d’Alene Tribe. The Tribe’s work to protect and restore their homeland is historic with enduring benefits for the Tribe and indeed for all life. We wish to thank the Tribe for their assistance in providing background information for the following summary.
Tribal World View
The Coeur d’Alene Tribe were the original land managers in the Basin. For the Tribe, all things living are interconnected. Relationship with other life is based on kinship rather than human supremacy. Resources are always to be used in a respectful and sustainable manner. Decisions include how Tribal descendants will be affected seven generations into the future.
Homeland and natural resource overview
- Historically 4 million acres: located in what is now the Idaho Panhandle from Montana to Washington, Lake Pend Oreille to the Clearwater breaks.
- Lands and waters were pristine until the advent of white settlement in the mid-1800s.
- Since then ecological conditions changed drastically: logging practices have eliminated old growth forests, clear-cut hillsides, changed species diversity, created a highly concentrated network of roads, and displaced wildlife species; agriculture has greatly increased agricultural runoff of pesticides, herbicides and nutrients; mining has poured hundreds of millions of tons of tailings, liquid chemicals and airborne contaminants into the Basin.
All of these practices derived wealth for the few, jobs for some, and left a legacy of negative natural resource impacts for all.
As a result of such impacts, the Tribe decided to take action and championed some major efforts to address the many problems facing their natural resource base (the center of their culture).
- EPA-related work: In the mid to late 1980’s, EPA began Superfund work in the Silver Valley. The Tribe immediately became involved in the cleanup – at first informally but later through cooperative agreements with EPA. Local, regional and State politics hoped the cleanup would be contained to a $200 million cleanup within a small portion of the Basin (the 21-square-mile “box”). Through the Tribe’s oversight and incessant urging of the EPA process, the original cleanup plan has been greatly increased and has led to three Records of Decisions (ROD’s 1, 2, and 3). To date EPA has spent over $600 million and still has yet to determine agency clean up actions for the lower 20 miles of the Coeur d’Alene River and associated lakes and wetlands, or what to do with Coeur d’Alene Lake. The Tribe believes that several billion dollars of EPA cleanup is yet to come.
- NRDA lawsuit and the Lake Case: In 1991, the Tribe filed two major lawsuits: Tribe v. Idaho (the Lake Case) and the Natural Resource Damage Assessment (NRDA) lawsuit (Tribe v. Gulf Resources et al.) These lawsuits set the stage for what became many years of protracted litigation. The NRD lawsuit sought $3 billion dollars for the injury to natural resources brought upon by the release of hazardous substances. The Lake ownership case sought to reaffirm the Tribes ownership of the Lake so the Tribe could then proceed to address the myriad of environmental problems left unchecked by the State of Idaho. Ultimately the Tribe prevailed in both lawsuits. The Tribe has been and continues to be on the Trustee Council responsible for the development and implementation of Restoration Plan to spend the $140 million brought about through the lawsuits.
- Lake Management Plan Development and Implementation: The Lake is the center of the Tribe’s creation story. Their name translates to, “Those that are found here.” Although the Tribe would have wanted EPA to undertake the protection of the Lake, politics has not yet allowed this. So rather than have a Superfund cleanup for the Lake, the Tribe was left with little option but to agree to coordinate with the State of Idaho to develop and implement a Lake Management Plan (LMP) that would, in essence, be the “non-CERCLA” approach to manage lake-bed metals contamination. After seven years of lackluster implementation (due to lack of funding and no political will to enact regulations) Tribal water quality data are indicating declining water quality. This indicates the LMP is proving to be ineffective. The Tribe has asked EPA to once again revisit their “deferred” decision of what they will do to protect the environment from future heavy-metals contamination.
- Water Rights Litigation: 10 years ago the Tribe was forced by the State of Idaho to be a part of the north Idaho water rights adjudication process. This has been a battle to develop Tribal water claims. The Tribe now faces a trial to prove entitlement to federally reserved water rights.
- Avista Mitigation: After the most recent FERC relicensing process that ended in 2011, the Tribe received $100 million to conduct natural resource restoration efforts to mitigate for losses to Tribal resources as a result of Avista Corporation project operations. Tribal investments include; aquatic weed (milfoil) management, wetlands enhancement, cultural resources protection, and water quality monitoring.
- Capacity Building: All during the last 25 years the Tribe continued to build internal technical capacity to tackle the complex and daunting environmental challenges in the Basin. The Coeur d’Alene Tribe has a Natural Resources Department and a Lake Management Department numbering about 75 people. Programs and major focus include but are not limited to:
- Fisheries (stream restoration, native species protection, scientific data collection)
- Wildlife (wildlife monitoring, habitat enhancement, big game management)
- Air Quality
- Water Resources (water quality standards development and enforcement, invasive species management and predictive lake modelling)
- Hazardous Waste Management (restoration of injured resources, LMP implementation)
- Shoreline Protection (shoreline debris management)
- Forestry and Fire Management (forest health, fire prevention and suppression)
- Pesticides Enforcement (education and enforcement)
- Lands and Realty
- Environmental Planning (coordination of environmental work on and off the Coeur d’Alene Reservation)
- Recreation Management (including operation and management for the Trail of the Coeur d’Alene and Camp Larsen).
In closing, the Coeur d’Alene Tribe has taken on the leadership role as steward of their homeland’s natural elements. In order to protect and restore the waters and lands, the Tribe has engage in a spectrum of efforts from litigation to cooperative agreements. The Tribe’s unwavering dedication to it stewardship responsibilities stems from the creators’ gift of their Land and surrounding homeland.
The last issue of 2016 is here! Read a preview of what to expect during the upcoming legislative session, an article by CELP’s Dan Von Seggern on the recent Hirst decision, and a summary of our December CLE.
This edition features water issues in the legislature, an update on Dungeness River litigation, and news about the WSU Water plan and Columbia River Treaty letter. Meet our new Development and Outreach Coordinator and learn about our upcoming events in Spokane and Idaho, our call for photos and stories and more.
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 email@example.com 503.943.8342
RSVP deadline: October 16
Conference Poster print ~ post ~ share
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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.