Lynn Best

Dr. Lynn Best, USA Commissioner

Lynn Best has a Ph.D in Zoology from the University of Washington and a Bachelor of Science in Biology from MIT. Until her recent retirement, she led Seattle City Light’s award-winning environmental programs, as well as hydro licensing, and real estate. She oversaw City Light’s activities to protect the natural environment, address climate change, comply with regulations, and operate in a sustainable manner. Seattle City Light is recognized as a national leader in environmental stewardship. Under her leadership, City Light became the first electric utility in the country to become carbon-neutral (in 2005).

She also established City Light’s environmental justice program. She is known for her collaborative approach and working with stakeholders including tribes, agencies and non-governmental organizations to resolve environmental issues. The Skagit Project License Agreements were the first comprehensive settlement for a large hydro project and are recognized as a national model. The Skagit Project is the largest hydro project to be certified as Low Impact.

Appointed in July, 2020

Dennis McLerran

Skagit Environmental Endowment Commission, Dennis McLerran, USA Commissioner

Dennis McLerran, USA Commissioner

Dennis has been the leader of federal, regional and local organizations serving the Pacific Northwest and Alaska and the Puget Sound Region. He has developed strong, positive relationships with political leaders at all levels from Congress to local City Councils and Tribes.

Dennis has extensive experience in building collaborations that have led to significant environmental results in the Pacific Northwest and Alaska, Canada and the Asia Pacific Region. Dennis has convened many highly successful stakeholder efforts in the past involving everyone from elected leaders to business, tribal, community and non-governmental organizations and is recognized as a regional leader in doing so. Several of those efforts have led to either passage of legislation or national award recognition for delivering environmental results

Appointed in July, 2019


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Skagit Environmental Endowment Commission

The Skagit Environmental Endowment Commission (the Commission) was established under an agreement between the Province of BC and the City of Seattle as a condition within the Ross Lake/Seven Mile Reservoir Treaty between the United States and Canada signed in 1984 (Appendix D). The treaty and agreement are in effect until 2064.


Skagit Oral History Project 1
Skagit Oral History Project 2

The Commission, as stipulated under treaty, consists of four Commissioners and four Alternate Commissioners from both Canada and the United States for a total of sixteen. The Commissioners are appointed by the Premier of British Columbia and the Mayor of Seattle. The Commission is led by joint co-chairs, one from each country.

The Commission was created with the purpose of managing the Skagit Environmental Endowment Fund, which was established in 1984 for the following purposes (Article 1):

  1. To conserve and protect wilderness and wildlife habitat
  2. To enhance recreational opportunities in the Skagit Valley
  3. To acquire mineral or timber rights consistent with conservation and recreational purposes
  4. To conduct studies of need and feasibility of projects
  5. To plan for and construct hiking trails, foot bridges, interpretive displays and the like
  6. To cause the removal of stumps and snags in Ross lake and on the shoreline as deemed appropriate, and the grooming and contouring of the shoreline, consistent with wildlife habitat protection
  7. To connect, if feasible, Manning Provincial Park and the North Cascades National Park by a trail system

The Commission focuses its work through four program areas : Education, Recreation, Ecosystem Science and Watershed Integrity. Approximately US$500,000 per annum is dedicated to program work. Examples include:


  • Funding of international interpretation program in Skagit Valley Provincial Park;
  • Support funding to Park Interpretation programs in Manning Provincial Park;
  • Program support funding to both the North Cascades Institute and Hope Mountain Centre for Outdoor Learning
  • Support funding to both the US national Park Service and BC Parks for recreational service enhancements including new trail construction and support of Youth Programs (Student Conservation Association) and volunteer support programs
    Ecosystem Science

    • Funding of water quality monitoring of the Skagit River headwaters;
    • Fisheries research including recreational use and habitat monitoring;
    • Vegetation research including Whitebark pine monitoring;
    • funding support for Indigenous studies e.g. Hozomeen Chert
    Watershed Integrity

  • Funding to special initiatives related to securing and conserving wilderness and wildlife habitat .e.g. working toward acquiring outstanding mineral and/or forest tenures related to crown land areas within the watershed (Donut Hole);
  • Supporting the US National Park Service on Environmental Impact Statement related to augmentation of Grizzly Bears into the North Cascades.

    The upper Skagit Watershed encompasses the traditional and unceded territories of the Sto:lo, Nlaka’pamux and Lower Similkameen indigenous peoples in Canada, and the Upper Skagit, Sauke-Suiattle and Swinomish tribes in the United States.

    In Canada, approximately 67% of the Skagit watershed is under some form of conservation designation or protected area status.

    In the United States, 100% of the Skagit watershed is under protected status within the US National Park Service, or the US National Forest Service.

    Upper Skagit Watershed Map

    The watershed sustains critical habitat for several rare and endangered species moving back and forth across the international border. Northern Spotted Owl and Bull Trout are examples of species specific to this watershed.


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    A Gathering at Hozomeen

    Gathering at Hozomeen

    On September 12 and 13, 2009 the Skagit Environmental Endowment Commission invited Washington and BC First Nations, archaeologists, anthropologist and other interested people to gather at International Point in the Upper Skagit Valley.

    This two-day ‘Gathering at Hozomeen’ focused on understanding and honoring the long history of Indigenous Nation involvement in the Upper Skagit River Watershed.

    The event included demonstrations of tribal and first nations traditional activities, tours on Ross Lake, interpretive walks, displays, speakers and celebration.  Throughout the two-day program there were opportunities to share knowledge and stories about this unique mountain landscape.

    The following video clip tells the story of Hozomeen Chert, a unique flint rock mined historically for tool-making only at Hozomeen Mountain and has been archaeologically re-discovered and documented in places like La Connor, Washington, Lytton, BC, Chilliwack, BC and others. These historic tribal and first nation peoples share a travel and trading history connecting them at Hozomeen.


    Video Documentary: A Gathering At Hozomeen

    This 45 minute video documentary tells the story of the September 2009 event at International Point, called the Gathering at Hozomeen.


    We are grateful for the participation of these partners.

    The Hozomeen Gathering event succeeded in large part because of the contribution of these people:

    • Bob Mierendorf – Chief Archaeologist North Cascades National Park Complex,
    • Laura Wee Lay Laq – cultural educator,
    • Sonny McHalsie and
    • Dave Schaepe – Sto:lo Resource Centre Chilliwack.

    Thank you everyone!

    Wolverine Research

    Wolverine Research

    The wolverine is among the rarest of the large carnivores in North America and probably least understood. SEEC produced this video to feature the collaborative, transboundary wolverine research of wildlife biologists in Washington State and and the Province of British Columbia.



    Wolverines eat a variety of food items. The larger animals they feed on tend to be carrion, that is, already dead when they discover them.  These larger animals include elk, caribou, deer and mountain goats. Wolverines will also eat snowshoe hare, porcupines, marmots, mice, voles, birds, fish and vegetation.

    Length: 82 – 130 cm  |  Weight: 6.5 – 16kg  |  Lifespan: 7-12 years


    Wolverines in the North Cascades of Washington State appear to be part of a larger population that reside in British Columbia and possibly Alberta. Wildlife biologists in in the U.S. collaborate with their counterparts in BC to study these populations as part of ongoing research related to transboundary species. This study area includes the North Cascades, Skagit and Similkameen watersheds.

    This research involves setting live traps baited with road-killed mule deer, beaver or salmon carcasses and monitored electronically as well as visited regularly to ensure the traps are working properly.  Captured wolverines are ear-tagged and fitted with radio-collars to provide general location and movement data. Approximately 1 dozen unique wolverines have been trapped, tagged and monitored over a 4 – 5 year period.


    For a graphic illustration of the extensive range of rough country the wolverine travels over, visit page 13 of this report by The vast, uninterupted wild space a wolverine requires speak volumes to importance of protected habitat.


    Mating season for wolverines is late spring to summer with an average of 1 – 2 kits being born the following winter, into spring. The kits are born white in color, in dens, burrowed deep into the snow in remote alpine locations usually at or just above the treeline.

    What threatens wolverines?

    The threats to wolverines are ultimately all human initiated.

    Climate change affects the wolverines because the available deep snow in their southern habitat regions is slowly diminishing.

    Encroachment of human activity disrupts denning wolverines. Outdoor enthusiasts are accessing wild places via snowmobile and backcountry skiing excursions.

    As human infrastructure expands into more remote regions, available wolverine habitat becomes more fragmented.  Connected corridors of protected lands are required to enable the wide ranging wolverine to travel between regional wolverine populations.

    The recent wolverine work in BC is funded by the Habitat Conservation Trust Fund, the Skagit Environmental Endowment Commission, the BC Ministry of Environment and the BC Conservation Foundation.

    For the latest information about wolverine research, connect with the following organizations.

    The Wolverine Foundation     Conservation NW

    Finance Committee

    Finance Committee

    Current fund management policies were adopted by SEEC in the mid 2000’s, and these policies continue to guide the Commission. The Commission manages the endowment fund via a committee of Commissioners in tandem with a financial advisor. The fund is managed through the Canadian Imperial Bank of Commerce (CIBC Securities) and managed out of Canada. Approximately 60% of the fund is in a Canadian investment account and 40% in a U.S. investment account.

    The financial policies introduced a more systematic and predictable approach to the management of the fund, including a commitment to spend only 4% of the value of the fund every year. Annual “supplemental payments” of about $180,000 per year are added to the fund by BC Hydro and Seattle City Light, per specific terms of the Treaty Agreement. As a result, about US$ 620,000 is available annually for administration and project support.

    Current Committee Members

    • Peter Chapman
    • Nancy Wilkin
    • Matt Love
    • Leo Bodensteiner
    • Tom Curley

    SEEC Meetings

    General Info

    The SEEC Story (2006 PPT presentation slides)

    History of the High Ross Controversy

    Flooding the Border – Phil Van Huizen’s 2015 doctorate thesis

    Expense Claim Form – Click to open | Fillable on-screen | Print  or Save as PDF

    SEEC Policies – Interpreting the Agreement

    SEEC Policies – Media & Communications Guideline

    Participation and Ethics Statement

    Reminder of admin goals discussion – ongoing.

    1. outreach strategy to the broader Skagit groups/users
    2. inbueing Commission meetings with an educational piece
    3. separating the outreach meetings (Victoria/Seattle) from the retreat (Commission business)
    4. formalizing Commission internal systems (Terms of Ref/confidentiality/retention and protection of documents) and
    5. (re new funding asks) to approach the Commissioners by us first creating proposals and then presenting to the Commissioners for discussion.

    USA Commissioners
    Expense Claim Form (link coming shortly)

    Canadian Commissioners
    Expense Claim Form (link coming shortly)

    2020 (September) Canada
    Tom Curley (chair)  |  Peter Chapman  |  Nancy Wilkin  |  Sue Hammell  |  Bob Chamberlin  |  Gail Ross |  Shannon Bentley  |
    Canada Admin: Danielle Courcelles

    2020 (September) USA
    Keith Kurko  |  Matt Love  |  Rob Smith  |  Amy Trainer  |  Leo Bodensteiner (chair)  |  Dennis McLerran  |  Lynn Best |  Richard Brocksmith  |
    USA Admin: Kate Engel

    2019 (May) Canada
    Tom Curley (chair)  |  Nancy Wilkin  |  Sue Hammell  |  Bob Peart  |  Gail Ross |  Sue Hammell  |  Shannon Bentley  |  Canada Admin: Chris Tunnoch

    2019 (May) USA
    Keith Kurko  |  Matt Love  |  Rob Smith  |  Jim Davis  |  Leo Bodensteiner (chair)  |  Laurie Terry  |  Gerry Cook |  USA Admin: Kate Engel

    2018 (May) Canada
    Tom Curley  |  Shaun Hollingsworth (chair)  |  Shannon Bentley  |  Nancy Wilkin  |  Elizabeth Johnston  |  Bob Peart  |  Gail Ross |  Canada Admin: Chris Tunnoch

    2018 (May) USA
    Keith Kurko  |  Matt Love  |  Rob Smith  |  Laurie Terry  |  Leo Bodensteiner (chair)  |  Jim Davis |  Gerry Cook |  USA Admin: Scott Powell

    2017 Canada
    Tom Curley  |  Shaun Hollingsworth (chair)  |  Nancy Wilkin  |  Elizabeth Johnston  |  Bhalwinder Waraich  |  Gail Ross |  Canada Admin: Chris Tunnoch

    2017 USA
    Keith Kurko  |  Matt Love  |  Rob Smith  |  Laurie Terry  |  Leo Bodensteiner  |  Jim Davis |  Gerry Cook |  Michelle Connor (chair) |  USA Admin: Scott Powell

    2016 (June) Canada
    Tom Curley  |  Shaun Hollingsworth (chair)  |  Nancy Wilkin  |  Elizabeth Johnston  |  Bhalwinder Waraich  |  Gail Ross |  Canada Admin: Chris Tunnoch

    2016 (June) USA
    Jen Watkins  |  Laurie Terry  |  Leo Bodensteiner  |  James Davis |  Gerry Cook |  Michelle Connor (chair) |  USA Admin: Scott Powell

    2015 (June) Canada
    Tom Curley  |  Shaun Hollingsworth (chair)  |  Lawrence French  |  Nancy Wilkin  |  Elizabeth Johnston  |  Bhalwinder Waraich  |  Gail Ross |  Canada Admin: Chris Tunnoch

    2015 (June) USA
    Rob Smith  |  Larry Campbell  |  Leo Bodensteiner  |  James Davis |  Gerry Cook |  Michelle Connor (chair) |  James Hattori  |  USA Admin: Scott Powell

    2014 Canada
    Lawrence French  |  Gail Ross |  Shaun Hollingsworth (chair) |  Nancy Wilkin |  Tom Curley |  Bhalwinder Waraich |  Elizabeth Johnston |  |  Canada Admin: Chris Tunnoch

    2014 USA
    Larry Campbell  |  MIchelle Connor (chair) |  James Hattori |  Jennifer Watkins |  Leo Bodensteiner |  Gerry Cook |  James Davis |  USA Admin: Scott Powell

    1. SEEC Oral History Phase I Report
    2. SEEC Oral History Phase II Report
    3. The portion of the House of Commons Debates where the Skagit River Valley Treaty Implementation Act was passed by unanimous consent.
      At the time of this reading (June 1, 1984) Bennett and Trudeau were still in power: Bennett (Dec. 22, 1975 – Aug. 6, 1986) and Trudeau (Mar. 3, 1980 – June 29, 1984) although he had announced in March he was stepping down after the convention in late June. Turner’s term followed (June 30, 1984- Sept. 17, 1984).
      – HC Debates – Skagit River Valley Treaty Implementation Act-1
    4. 2009 Hozomeen Gathering
       – Attendees list: PDF format  |  .CSV Format
       – DVD Jacket Cover graphics

    Commissioner Contacts

    Tom Curley
    Peter Chapman
    Nancy Wilkin
    Sue Hammell
    Bob Chamberlin
    Gail Ross
    Shannon Bentley
    Keith Kurko
    Matt Love
    Rob Smith
    Amy Trainer
    Leo Bodensteiner
    Dennis McLerran
    Dr. Lynn Best
    Richard Brocksmith
    Gerry Cook


    Recreation Committee

    The focus of this committee is to honor the intent and spirit of the treaty in creating a “one recreational experience on both sides of the border’. The Commission allots approximately 19% of it’s annual budget to support recreation initiatives and programs.

    Committee Members

    • Rob Smith
    • Sue Hammell
    • Gerry Cook