Tuesday, September 12, 2017

Study for tribes argues for giving the Columbia River and its tributaries a more natural flow

"The Columbia River and its tributaries could generate an additional $1.5 billion a year in economic activity if U.S. and Canadian agencies change the way they manage the numerous dams and reservoirs in the Pacific Northwest, a new study shows," Bryce Oates reports for The Daily Yonder.

The study, conducted by Earth Economics, advocates releasing more water from the Columbia and its tributaries during the spring and summer to make the flow more natural. The change would reduce the amount of hydro-generated electricity, causing a $69 million drop in power revenue, but would increase fish populations, expand wetlands, make water cleaner and increase the size and health of forests, the study says. That would boost outdoor recreational activities, commercial fishing, and improved economies for Native American tribes in the area, which the study says would make up for the drop in power revenue.

The study was commissioned by a group of tribes that want to change how the river is managed as they prepare to renegotiate the Columbia River Treaty among the U.S. and Canadian governments and various tribes, which is due for an update in 2024.

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