Columbia River Treaty negotiations continue

Columbia River Treaty negotiations between the U.S. and Canada are ongoing, with the latest round taking place in September in British Columbia. According to a press release from the government of B.C., delegations from tribes of both nations presented on ecosystem work collaboration. Other issues discussed were flood-risk management and hydropower. The U.S. team is led by chief negotiator, Jill Smail, of the U.S. Department of State.

Negotiations are closed to the public, and any information released by the U.S. State Department tends to be general in nature, explained Kristin Meira, executive director of the Pacific Northwest Waterways Association (PNWA). One thing that is certain, however, is that no agreement between the U.S. and Canada has been reached yet.

“PNWA and other groups are vocal in our support for a timely conclusion to the negotiations, especially as we continue the march toward 2024 and the expiration of the current assured storage for flood risk reduction,” Meira said in an email. “Northwest navigation, shipping and grower interests are strongly supportive of a new flood control agreement that a) preserves the current approach to high and low flows, and b) provides certainty for the coming decades of operations on the river for the mutual benefit of U.S. and Canadian interests.”

PNWA is a stakeholder group that works to make sure the region’s waterways are efficient, reliable and environmentally sustainable while supporting navigation, energy, trade and economic development interests throughout the Pacific Northwest.

The ninth round of Columbia River Treaty talks is scheduled for Nov. 19-20 in the U.S.