/ SNAKE RIVERS
For more than a half-century
NRIC has been a major player in the struggle to protect anadromous
salmon and steelhead and dependent tribal and nontribal economies
in the 260,000 square-mile Columbia River Basin, an area larger than France.
NRIC helped create what has been called the world's largest fish
and wildlife conservation program. NRIC has produced numerous regional
and subregional plans, reports, articles, and essays, provided expert
testimony before regional commissions, councils and congressional
committees, and has won path-breaking lawsuits in the federal courts.
NRIC assisted the
Confederated Tribes of the Umatilla Indian Reservation with the lead role in years of strategic planning, negotiations, and conflict
resolution with the U.S. government, State of Oregon, and agricultural
industry over rights to water in the Umatilla River Basin in eastern
The resulting $200 million+ project restored
irrigation depleted streamflows, restored three extirpated
populations of salmon, restored tribal and non-tribal salmon
fisheries, and improved irrigation water supplies. The project ended
75 years of zero sum conflict between the region's irrigated
agriculture economy and the Umatilla Tribe's treaty-reserved right
to fish. It did so at great net economic benefit to the general
The United States Federal
Energy Regulatory Commission is engaged in wholesale relicensing
of the nation's hydroelectric infrastructure. The economic, environmental,
and social stakes are enormous and far-reaching.
NRIC on its own behalf, and in support of others, intervenes in
hydroelectric relicensing proceedings to defend the general public interest and Native American Indian treaty-reserved rights and interests,
notably fish and wildlife values.
human activities, the grazing of livestock has had the most profound adverse impact on the long-term
health and economic productivity of watersheds in the vast commons of the western United States.
NRIC pioneered West-wide consciousness
raising and watershed restoration demonstration projects that
resolve conflict between private livestock grazing and
public environmental values.
"Qúavons nous appris de cet énorme échec économique et humain.
Voilà: Les saumons ont besoin de rivières!" *
Throughout much of the northern hemisphere salmon are a key indicator of environmental quality and
long-term economic productivity. Transboundary salmon treaties and political protocols bind nations
in common cause, or purport to do so.
In fact, wild salmon populations are in crisis throughout their
range. This NRIC project seeks to raise consciousness about the
international scope and common causes of the problem.
* "What did
we learn from all this enormous economic and human cost? Voila:
Salmon need rivers!"
Chaney, Colloque Des Saumons et Des Hommes
Brioude, France, December 1993.