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Watershed management and the Columbia River basin

columbia river
Shawn Kinkade

The Columbia River basin watershed is one of the biggest in the United States covering 260,000 square miles and that includes creeks, streams and rivers across Idaho and six other states, as well as parts of Canada.

The basin has struggled with issues like water quality, toxic pollution and fish conservation.

There are many who want to help clean up and preserve the river basin, but that can be tricky because there’s no one overarching entity in charge of this sprawling watershed. This water system, like many in America, is governed by a complex web of local, state and federal authorities.

The 32nd annual conference of the Society of Environmental Journalists taking place in Boise this week will look at who governs watersheds and new ways to collaborate among concerned parties to help river basins like the Columbia.

Mary Lou Soscia is the former Columbia River Restoration Program Manager in region 10 of the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency. She’ll be part of a panel Wednesday titled “Watersheds Governance and Power Structures” and she joined Idaho Matters to talk more.

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