The Columbia River is the largest river in the Pacific Northwest region of North America. The river rises in the Canadian Rocky Mountains of British Columbia. It's source is Columbia Lake at 2,690 ft above sea level. From here it flows northwest through Golden to Revelstoke and then south into the US state of Washington, then turns west to form most of the border between Washington and the state of Oregon before emptying into the Pacific Ocean.
The Columbia River is the fourth largest river by volume in North America.
The Columbia is a snow-charged river system and the volume of water in the river fluctuates seasonally. The highest volumes typically occur between April and September and the lowest between December and February. From its headwaters near Canal Flats in BC, the Columbia flows approximately 2,000 km and drops 820 metres before reaching the Pacific Ocean at Astoria, Oregon. Along the way, the Columbia River passes through 14 hydroelectruc dams on its main stem and many more in its tribuaries producing more hydroelectric power than those of any other North American river.
Kicking Horse River and Blaeberry River are both tributaries of the Columbia River.
The Columbia River is home to the Columbia Wetlands and provides the life support system for hundreds of thousands of birds, fish, reptiles, amphibians and mammals. They sustain the second-largest concentration of great blue heron residents in western Canada, more than 300 pairs. Migrating waterfowl — 15,000 each spring and autumn — depend on the wetlands to survive their journeys. Songbirds, shorebirds and birds of prey rely on the Columbia Wetlands, as do Kokanee salmon, Rocky Mountain whitefish, ling cod and several varieties of trout.
The Columbia Wetlands Stewardship Partners came together several years ago in order to allow local communities to play a role in stewarding this very important wetland system and have produced a detailed river guide to the Columbia River between Canal Flats and Golden, BC, Canada.