Oregon's Siuslaw Basin Partnership, winners of the Thiess International Riverprize in 2004, has been twinning with Russia’s Sakhalin Island, sharing knowledge in sustainable salmon and river management in partnership with the Wild Salmon Center. Significant achievements have resulted from this partnership such as establishing Russia’s first watershed council and the Sakhalin Salmon Initiative. In October, the Wild Salmon Center and Siuslaw Institute hosted the third Oregon-Russia Far East Watershed Council Exchange.
The primary goal of the exchange was to provide representatives from the Public Salmon Councils in the Russian Far East with an opportunity to learn from well-established, successful models of citizen involvement in local watershed management that have been developed in Oregon through its watershed council network. While visiting the Siuslaw Basin, Russian delegates met with government agencies, the Siuslaw Watershed Council, indigenous representatives, school youth and educators, as well as rivers practitioners. Johnny Sundstrom, founder of the Siuslaw Institute said:
“Our success in previous exchanges has shown us how important it is to share direct knowledge and experience of a place with the people who can best learn and apply these lessons in their homeland. The continued development of this unique relationship-building, and the ongoing accumulation of understanding and expertise that comes from international cooperation, truly benefits all of the parties involved in both tangible and intangible ways”.