Swimming against the current: valuation of white sturgeon in renewal of the columbia river treaty

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The Columbia River Treaty (CRT) between Canada and the United States was implemented in 1964 to cooperatively manage water-related issues. Treaty terms were based on concerns of flood control and economic growth with no consideration for ecosystem health and the benefits therein. In turn, basin management has become fragmented and deleterious to the River’s vast and complex watershed ecosystems. To ensure the Columbia River Basin (CRB) is able to absorb increasing demands while protecting environmental quality, provisions for the management of ecosystem services must be improved in the modernization of the Treaty. This study uses the white sturgeon as an example of how undervalued ecosystem goods and services can be integrated into the CRT. While the CRB once supported a productive population of white sturgeon, basin management has rendered them an endangered and threatened species. This study’s analysis yields recommendations for a portfolio of policies to entities of the CRT.
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