U.S. Senator Maria Cantwell (D-WA) joined other regional leaders at Rock Reach Dam to celebrate the 20th anniversary of the Mid-Columbia Habitat Conservation Plans on Friday.

The plans established a blueprint for preserving critical salmon and steelhead habitat while also ensuring the stable production of hydropower along more than 100 miles of the Columbia River in Central Washington State.

Cantwell says she credits the many successes the plans have brought since 2004 on collaboration.

"What really happened twenty years ago, was a bunch of people decided to work together. Every time that happens in the central part of our state, whether it's the Yakima Basin or here at Rocky Reach, we benefit as a community."

Recent research has shown a marked increase in survival rates for both adult and juvenile salmon and steelhead passing through Rocky Reach, including many which are safely bypassing the 125' concrete structure by using its $110 million state-of-the-art fish ladder.

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Sen. Cantwell says although much has been accomplished to protect fish and their habitat over the past two decades, there's still more work that needs to be done.

"What's left to do is ratifying the Columbia River Treaty and getting that done. So I'm working very hard on that because that is ultimately about managing this resource between our two nations and it effects the entire river and its systems."

The Columbia River Treaty is an agreement between the United States and Canada that was reached in 1961 regarding the development and operation of dams in the Upper Columbia River Basin to benefit power generation and flood control in both countries.

Sen. Cantwell was joined at Friday's ceremonies by Congresswoman Kim Schrier (D-Sammamish), 12th District Rep. Keith Goehner (R-Dryden), Confederated Tribes of the Colville Reservation Chairman Jarred-Michael Erickson, and Confederated Tribes and Bands of the Yakama Nation Vice Chairman Christopher Wallahee.