Kootenay-Columbia Green Party candidate Bill Green travelled to Portland, Oregon on August 17th to receive a conservation award from the American Fisheries Society.
Green accepted the William E. Ricker Resource Conservation Award on behalf of a cross-border coalition of First Nations and Tribes that have showed leadership in protecting and restoring aquatic ecosystems in order to return salmon to the Columbia and Kootenay River systems.
“Our target is to have salmon running at Trail and Castlegar within five years, then soon after into the Arrow Lakes and the Slocan,” Green said. “(We) are working to have salmon as far upstream as the headwaters at Columbia Lake by 2040.”
Green is the founder and executive director of the Canadian Columbia River Inter-tribal Fisheries Commission, which was established in conjunction with the Ktunaxa and Secwepemc Nations to return salmon to their historic passage ways in the area.
“It has been an incredible honour and learning experience over the past 20 years to work with the Ktunaxa and Secwepemc communities,” said Green, who is a fisheries biologist. “Bringing back the salmon is of profound cultural importance to them, and will produce ecological and economic benefits for all people.”
Salmon runs were cut off from the upper Columbia area in the 1940s when the Grand Coulee dam was built in Washington state. To start the reparations, Green’s organization has negotiated agreements with the Columbia Power Corporation to provide fish passageways at their hydro plants.
“This is not just about salmon,” Green said. “Bull trout, sturgeon, burbot and other native fish species will also benefit.”