Work continues on how to bring salmon back to the Columbia River.
Back in July, the five governments of the basin signed the Salmon Letter of Agreement, agreeing to work together to attempt to bring salmon back to the headwaters of Columbia Lake.
“A piece of paper doesn’t sound all that exciting, but a piece of paper which says ‘okay, now these five governments are going to work together’…[is significant progress],” said Bill Green, who has been working on bringing the salmon back for 25 years.
Green, director of the Canadian Columbia River Inter-tribal Fisheries Commission, presented on the progress at a Columbia River Treaty public engagement meeting in Revelstoke last month.
He said that one of the most pleasing things about the recently signed agreement is that there was recognition that the project needs to be Indigenous lead and guided by Indigenous principals as well as the United Nation’s Indigenous rights declaration.
The three year agreement, to which $2.25 million has been allocated, will see the Government of Canada, the Government of B.C., the Okanagan Nation Alliance, the Ktunaxa Nation Council and the Secwepemc Nation Tribal Council, will explore feasibility, put together a strategic direction and work through questions such as cost and desirability.
One obstacle for getting the salmon from the ocean to the headwaters, is their passage through the USA.
“We can’t do it single-handedly on the Canadian side,” said Green.