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Jim Heffernan
(503) 731-1303

Employee since: 1989

Policy Analyst-Columbia River Treaty

Policy Development and Litigation Support Department
Portland Main Office


Jim Heffernan received a B.S. in Wildlife Biology from Colorado State University. He worked seasonally for the U.S. Forest Service in timber sale layout and preparation in Idaho, Southeast Alaska, and Northern California for several years before returning to school for a law degree. He earned a Juris Doctor and Certificate in Environmental Law from the Northwestern School of Law at Lewis and Clark College (now Lewis and Clark Law School). Jim now works as a Policy Analyst with the Columbia River Inter-Tribal Fish Commission, where he focuses his work on the regional effort to modernize the Columbia River Treaty. Under direction from tribal governments, he worked with federal and state representatives on the Sovereign Review and Technical Teams on the regional collaborative process. That process led to U.S. Entity Regional Recommendation on the Future of the Columbia River Treaty after 2024, submitted to the U.S. Department of State on December 13, 2013. Jim continues to work with tribal leaders and staff for the 15 tribes in the Columbia Basin Tribes Coalition to ensure that ecosystem-based function, of which fish passage and reintroduction to Canadian spawning grounds is an integral element, is integrated as a third key element of a modern Columbia River Treaty, equal to coordinated flood risk management and hydropower production.


  • B.S. Wildlife Biology, Colorado State University
  • J.D., Certificate in Environmental Law, Northwestern School of Law, Lewis and Clark College

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