On Monday, July 29 in Castlegar, B.C., a landmark agreement to collaborate on the reintroduction of Pacific anadromous salmon into the Canadian portion of the Upper Columbia River Basin was signed by the Syilx Okanagan, Ktunaxa, and Secwepemc Indigenous Nations, British Columbia, and Canada.
In the 1930s, the construction of the Grand Coulee Dam in the State of Washington blocked salmon from reaching the Upper Columbia River in Canada leading to the extirpation of salmon stocks. This Letter of Agreement brings renewed hope by entering the five governments into a three-year commitment to work together to explore ways to reintroduce salmon into the Upper Columbia River Basin. Federal and Provincial science advice and Indigenous traditional knowledge will be key to ensuring any reintroduction is successful.
Marc Nelitz from ESSA, in partnership with David Marshall from the Fraser Basin Council, have been actively engaged in facilitating a dialogue among representatives from these five governments and others over the last 15 months to strengthen their commitment to salmon reintroduction, organizational collaboration, and technical coordination in the Upper Columbia River Basin.
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