Spicer family, Treaty Dams
On Feb. 27, 2015, Sierra Club's Upper Columbia River Group will honor Crystal and Janet Spicer with our Watershed Hero Award.

Imagine that your government notified you that your home would be flooded by a new dam. You were never consulted in the decision – and now you are going to lose almost everything you care about. That’s the situation the Spicer family faced after British Columbia/Canada ratified the Columbia River Treaty with the United States that resulted in the dam at Arrow Lakes (and 3 other dams).

The two daughters, Crystal and Janet, watched as their parents fought valiantly to hold onto their home. As Crystal Spicer wrote in 2013,

"Approximately 300,000 acres in BC were inundated (4 fertile valleys) to include entire terrestrial and aquatic ecosystems, valuable forestland, farms, orchards, dairies, ranches, and prime real estate. Thousands of people were displaced along with their livelihoods gone, around 1350 homes were burned or moved, just in the Arrow Lakes valley alone more than 26 communities and settlements were affected with most of these completely erased now, over 10,000 years of First Nations archeology and culture was obliterated (pictographs dynamited rather than carefully preserved), railways, highways, and airports, cemeteries, miles of summer beaches, recreation access, heritage hotels and resorts and homes, islands, a thriving tourism industry, abundant fish populations, 1000’s of km of incredible riparian area (the most strategic zone between water and land), habitat for wildlife, shorebirds and songbirds, wetlands, rivers and lakes were all destroyed, inundated, or decimated.

"We have been left with mass erosion of land, dust storms, reservoir silting problems, an increase in rainfall and winter fog, a lot of floating debris, and valleys devoid of birds, wildlife, and waters depleted of fish populations."

These two sisters, Crystal and Janet, motivated and oversaw the formation of the Columbia Basin Revitalization Coalition to seek changes in the Columbia River Treaty to protect and restore the Upper Columbia River. Never underestimate the power of love for home and home waters. At the heart of their advocacy are the "non-human" elements of the upper basin -- the river, the fish and animal species, the plants, trees, songbirds, insects . . . all deeply impacted by the storage reservoirs.
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