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Wed., Oct. 2, 2013, 9:54 a.m.

Columbia River treaty meeting Wednesday in Spokane

RIVERS -- Despite the U.S. government shutdown, Bonneville Power and the Army Corps of Engineers will hold public hearings on Columbia River Treaty review in Spokane on Wednesday (Oct. 2) at the downtown Spokane Public Library, 906 W. Main St.

The announcement was posted on the U.S. Columbia River Treaty Review website.

The agencies will be taking comments on the draft recommendations to the Department of State regarding what a modernized Treaty will look like, said Rachael Paschal Osborn, Spokane-based attorney with the Center for Environmental Law & Policy.

Osborn suggests parties interested in how the treaty may be used to restore the Columbia River should consider providing the following messages at the meetings, or via (or call 800-622-4519):

(1) Adding ecosystem function and restoration as a co-equal purpose of the treaty is good.  Thank the US Entity and the agencies and tribes who have worked hard to recommend this new purpose for the Treaty.

(2) Adding fish passage at Columbia system dams is good.  Salmon must be, and can be, restored to their ancestral grounds. Tribes and supporters are proposing a fish ladder over Grand Coulee Dam.

(3) Modernize flood control.  Fewer levees, more flood plain connections, practical solutions such as not building in the flood plain can create flexibility for upstream water storage.

(4) Recognize B.C.'s contribution to power generation, safety and ecological well-being in the U.S.  Let's negotiate in good faith.

Osborn will post updates on the Columbia River on her Naiad's blog.

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Rich Landers writes and photographs stories and columns for a wide range of outdoors coverage, including Outdoors feature sections on Sunday and Thursday.