Research on the Columbia River Basin

The following research documents were created by several OSU graduate students from 2010 to present. The work is part of an ongoing set of water-related research conducted at Oregon State University, connected with the greater Transboundary Freshwater Dispute Database.

The Universities Consortium on Columbia River Governance consists of Oregon State University; University of Idaho; University of Washington; University of Montana; and University of British Columbia. The purpose of the consortium and forum was to bring research informed by stakeholder input to bear on the issues of importance to both the US and Canada in the Pacific Northwest (PNW). [For a quick overview of the Columbia River Treaty history, see the four minute video. Each year one of the member universities has hosted the symposium. In 2010, OSU hosted the 2nd symposium in Corvallis, Oregon.

As a part of the Universities Consortium activity, Brendan Galipeau, Kim Ogren, and Jacob Petersen-Perlman each developed alternatives for future management of the Columbia River. They also crafted a framework that can be used to develop and evaluate additional alternatives. Kim and Jacob presented CRT Alternatives Poster at the Symposium and this was included in a joint OSU and University of Idaho report, entitled: “Combined Report on Scenario Development for the Columbia River Treaty Review.”

In 2011, as a part of Julie Watson's Master's thesis research, she created the film A River Loved. This is a documentary film that tells the story of the Columbia River and the diverse people and interests in the basin through a series of interviews with stakeholders. In addition to the film, Julie created a summary poster. Her pre- and post-surveys are also available here.

In 2012, students produced a documentary film, Voices of the Basin, which provided an update on where the Columbia River Treaty process, as well as interviews of new stakeholders included in the current treaty process but not the original negotiations. They also contributed to the Summary Report of the 4th Annual Symposium on Columbia River Governance by serving as note takers and synthesizing the information collected at the symposium. 

University Consortium Student Contributors:

  • Holley DuMond
  • Brendan Galipeau
  • Kim Ogren
  • Jacob Petersen-Perlman
  • Julie Watson

OSU Graduate Dr. Kim Ogren’s dissertation research on the evaluation of water governance decision making processes includes two case studies on the recent reviews of the Columbia River Treaty in the US and Canada. As part of this research, she developed a synthesis framework for evaluating and improving water governance decision making called the Water Governance Process Assessment (Water GPA). The framework draws upon 22 existing frameworks rooted in resilience, adaptive governance, and good governance; it identifies a way to evaluate four characteristics critical to good water governance decision making processes: 1) accountability, 2) inclusivity, and 3) information, and 4) context. Dr. Kim Ogren's dissertation is titled: Water Governance Process Assessment: Evaluating the Link Between Decision Making Processes and Outcomes in the Columbia River Basin.

More information about her research can be found on her blog, Columbia River Calling.  Her blog also features other research on the Columbia River including a white paper, entitled, “Summary of Known Canadian Perspectives on the Columbia River Treaty” as well as maps of the Columbia River Basin. 

In 2015 and 2016, the Universities Consortium on Columbia River Governance collaberated with the Northwest Power and Conservation Council and the Columbia Basin Trust to produce the Transboundary Cooperation in the International Columbia River Basin report. This research was conducted as part of OSU Graduate Ingrid Timboe's master's thesis. More information can be found on the project's research page.

This database is a work in progress, and we invite observations and additional entries. Please contact Aaron Wolf with comments or requests for additional information. For questions concerning the functional operation of the database, please contact Melissa McCracken. For questions on Julie Watson's film or research, please contact her directly. For questions on the University Consortium and Kim Ogren's related research, please contact her directly.

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