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Columbia River Treaty negotiators meet in Kelowna

Negotiating teams for Canada and the United States concluded the 17th round of negotiations toward a modernized Columbia River Treaty.

B.C. government officials said the talks went ahead in Kelowna on May 16 and 17.

Representatives spoke about a number of topics, including hydropower operation planning, integrating Canada’s desire for greater flexibility into treaty dam operations, and incorporating input from Indigenous Nations and U.S. Tribes into treaty operations, among a number of others.

“Following the negotiation sessions, the Canadian and U.S. delegations toured the kł cp̓əlk̓ stim hatchery near Penticton and took part in a sockeye salmon release ceremony hosted by the Syilx Okanagan Nation,” said B.C. government officials. “Representatives of the Syilx Okanagan, Ktunaxa and Secwepemc Nations are part of the Canadian negotiation delegation, along with the Government of Canada and the Province of B.C.”

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Government officials said the negotiations have both teams the chance to learn about efforts led by the Okanagan Nation Alliance and U.S. Tribes to restore sockeye salmon in the upper Okanagan watershed, Okanagan Lake and Skaha Lake systems.

“Canadian negotiators believe this work is a prime example of what can be achieved through close transboundary collaboration and feel that such cross-border partnerships are critical to addressing ecosystem, economic and flood-risk management issues as the treaty modernization process moves forward,” said the province.

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