New dams proposed on the MeKong River threaten the largest inland freshwater fishery in the world and the food and economic security of sixty million people living in Burma, Laos, Thailand, Cambodia and Vietnam.
Eleven dams are proposed on the Mekong River. The first two lower Mekong hydropower mega-projects are currently under construction, a third is moving forward, and 8 more are planned along with hundreds of existing major tributary dams. Rapid deforestation, industrialization and overfishing also create severe impacts and are ongoing.
History repeats itself
In the Columbia River Basin we recognize a familiar story on the Mekong; just as dams, logging and industrialization decimated the largest salmon runs in the world, the same activities along the Mekong will decimate the incredible diversity and abundance of such species as Irrawaddy Dolphin and Giant Catfish. Just as Native American tribes bore the brunt of the impact from the development of the Columbia, so to will the fisher people of the Mekong.
The plans for the Mekong are modeled on the Columbia – including an early 1950’s US Bureau of Reclamation study and another by US Army Corps of Engineers Columbia basin planners in late 1957. And the U.S.-Canada Columbia River Treaty has been put forth as a model of transboundary river management for the countries along the Mekong. Despite being a world away, our goal is to build a bridge between these two mighty rivers, in order to prevent history from repeating itself.
About the Speaker
Senglong Youk is Deputy Executive Director at Fisheries Action Coalition Team (FACT) and Coordinator/Spokesperson at Tonle Sap Lake Waterkeeper (TWK) Cambodia. TWK is the first and only SE Asian member of the Waterkeeper Alliance (WKA). He will be visiting non-profit and community organizations in the U.S. to share the issues and experiences of Mekong River communities, forge relationships and gather resources for the Mekong.
WHEN: Wednesday, June 21 — 5:30 to 8pm
WHERE: Pacific Rivers — 317 SW Alder St. Suite, 900
Free, open to the public, and family friendly! Refreshments provided.