Nominations are due on July 31, 2021, for representatives of river economies to sit on the Integration/Recommendations Group (“I/RG”) of the Columbia Basin Collaborative (“Collaborative”).
The Collaborative is a continuation of the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (“NOAA”) 2017-2020 Columbia River Partnership Task Force (“Task Force”). The Task Force sought to develop shared goals and a comprehensive vision for the future of Columbia River salmon and steelhead. In October 2020, the states of Oregon, Washington, Idaho, and Montana signed an agreement to continue the work of the Task Force. The result was the Columbia Basin Collaborative.
The Collaborative’s purpose is to develop “a collaborative framework that strives for abundant and harvestable salmon and steelhead in a manner that appreciates and addresses the needs of the regional economy, including but not limited to agriculture, transportation, fishing, recreation, port operations, and state and tribal fisheries.” The Collaborative’s ultimate goal is “to seek consensus agreement on action-oriented proposals, and promote them to the appropriate federal, state, tribal, and other decision-makers for authorization, funding and implementation.”
The Collaborative’s vision for the I/RG is that it will contain 20 to 30 members with seats allocated as follows: states (4), Columbia Basin tribes (number to be determined by the tribes), federal government (4), and stakeholders (utilities–2, river economies–2, non-tribal fisheries–2, conservation–2). Nominations for stakeholder representatives are due on July 31, and more information on the nomination process and I/RG membership criteria are available on the Collaborative’s website.
Many of the potential stakeholder representatives have already stated that they favor removal of Snake River dams in order to promote salmon recovery, even at the expense of economic interests that depend on the dams for river transportation, which is often much more financially and environmentally efficient than available alternatives. It will be crucial for the “river economies” sectors such as agriculture, ports, transportation, and municipalities to be represented in the I/RG to ensure that their interests are embedded in the consensus recommendation that the Collaborative ultimately provides to federal, state, and tribal decision-makers, including Congress.
Jordan Ramis will continue to keep its clients apprised of the Collaborative’s activities and progress. Please contact us if you have questions.
Elizabeth A. Rosso is an attorney and shareholder at Jordan Ramis PC. She focuses her practice on environmental and natural resources law, administrative law, and special districts law. Contact her at firstname.lastname@example.org or (503) 598-7070.
Gregory Zerzan is a Jordan Ramis PC attorney with legislative, regulatory, and cabinet agency experience who advises clients through their interactions with Congress and federal agencies. Contact him at email@example.com or (503)-598-7070.