Episode #20

The Treaty


July 6, 2023

Episode Length:


Episode Guests:

Janet and Crystal Spicer – Sisters who grew up in Nakusp before the Columbia River dams were built

Corky Evans – Former provincial politician

Josh Smienk –  Former chair of the Columbia Basin Trust

Sophie Pierre – Ktunaxa Chief

Eileen Delahanty Pearkes – Author of “A River Captured”

Episode Overview

The Columbia River Treaty governs the water that flows from the headwaters of the Columbia River, through the Kootenays, to where it ends in the United States. It profoundly changed the Basin, turning once fertile valleys into lakes and altering river ecosystems forever, while at the same time, preventing catastrophic flooding and generating billions of dollars in hydroelectric revenue. Currently, the treaty is up for renegotiation. We talk to families disenfranchised by treaty dams, politicians who negotiated ways to mitigate its impacts, and writers lobbying for a better future.

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Dammed and Determined

Signed between Canada and the United States in 1964, the Columbia River Treaty might by one of the most important land-use agreements in the history of the two nations. The consequences of its renegotiation are very real. CBC journalist Bob Keating examines the history and next steps of the colossal contract.

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Columbia River Treaty

The Columbia River Treaty is an international agreement between Canada and the United States to coordinate flood control and optimize hydroelectric energy production on both sides of the border. Learn about its role and why it matters.

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Lake on the Line

Not so long ago it was home to one of the most astounding fish populations in North America. Gargantuan endemic Gerrard trout, which could grow to 25 pounds or more, thanks to their main food source, the Kokanee, made Kootenay Lake famous to anglers throughout the West. Since 2014, however, the once mighty Gerrard struggles to reach five pounds. What happened?

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Columbia Basin Stories

Twelve Basin Stories videos explore the lives of Basin residents before, during and after the construction of the Columbia River Treaty dams. Hear the experiences and perspectives of people of all walks of life, including displaced residents, dam workers, First Nations people, elected officials, historians and former BC Hydro employees.

Watch The Stories