Pacific tribes on both sides of the 49th Parallel are receiving honors on May 21 for their work in cleaning up the Upper Columbia River Basin.
The Upper Columbia United Tribes (UCUT) is receiving the Ralph W. Johnson Water Hero Award, along with a total of 15 tribes and 17 First Nations of the Columbia River Basin, from the Center for Environmental Law & Policy (CELP). The award comes for “their leadership in restoring salmon and the Columbia River,” CELP said in a statement.
“In the Upper Columbia, dams have devastated fisheries and profoundly damaged tribes and indeed the entire region,” UCUT said in a statement. The collaboration of its major members—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—has been key to projects restoring habitat.
Key to habitat restoration is the modernization of the Columbia River Treaty, which the U.S. and Canadian governments are about to decide whether to undertake. The tribes authored a paper that “provides a much-needed proposal for restoring fish passage and reintroducing anadromous fish as an essential element in modernizing the Columbia River Treaty,” UCUT said on its website.