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Feds, Kalispel Tribe Propose 10-Year, $39 Million Agreement For Pend Oreille River Mitigation
Posted on Friday, July 08, 2011 (PST)

The Kalispel Tribe and federal agencies are proposing a 10-year, $39 million agreement to address the impacts of Albeni Falls Dam on Pend Oreille River fish and wildlife.


The proposed agreement, released for public comment July 1, is available at


The agreement is similar to the 10-year “Columbia Fish Accords” signed in May 2008 by the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers, Bonneville Power Administration and the Bureau of Reclamation, Confederated Tribes and Bands of the Yakama Nation, the Confederated Tribes of the Umatilla Indian Reservation, the Confederated Tribes of the Warm Springs Reservation and the Columbia River Inter-Tribal Fish Commission.


Separate agreements were signed with the Confederated Tribes of the Colville Indian Reservation, the states of Idaho and Montana and the Shoshone-Bannock Tribe.


The state of Washington signed an agreement with the federal agencies in 2009 for work in the Columbia River estuary.


These agreements include a slate of actions in habitat, hatchery and research, monitoring and evaluation aimed at improving the prospects for recovery of listed salmon, bull trout and steelhead. They also are intended to protect non-listed fish from becoming endangered.


The proposed Kalispel agreement focuses on actions to protect fish and wildlife, including habitat acquisitions, habitat restoration, predator management, and operational solutions to address impacts of Albeni Falls Dam on bull trout and other aquatic species of the Pend Oreille River.


The agreement recognizes the tribe’s resource management expertise and its interest in operations at Albeni Falls Dam and includes specific provisions for the tribe to contribute to decisions that affect fish, wildlife and water quality.


“The Kalispel Tribe is excited to see this agreement come to fruition as a result of nearly two decades of positive working relationships and on-the ground successes. It is our hope and understanding that this is just the beginning of our future working relationships with the Action Agencies and we are hopeful for the future of our important and treasured resources,” said Glen Nenema, tribal chairman.


The proposed agreement would make available approximately $39 million over 10 years to benefit fish and wildlife, including $2.5 million for wildlife habitat acquisitions to address wildlife impacts associated with Albeni Falls Dam.


The funds may also be used to evaluate and plan for a conservation hatchery to assist with restoration of genetically distinct populations of bull trout and cutthroat trout to multiple streams in Washington and Idaho.  Under the agreement, the tribe, the Corps and BPA would collaborate on improving water management actions in late summer and early fall to improve downstream water temperature for bull trout and other aquatic species.


“This agreement shows our collective resolve to work together to protect the fish and wildlife resources at Albeni Falls Dam,” said Witt Anderson, regional director of programs for the Corps’ Northwestern Division office.


“BPA is pleased to add the Kalispel Tribe to the growing list of Columbia Basin tribes and states that are working together, in partnership, to provide on-the-ground benefits for fish and wildlife,” said Lorri Bodi, vice president, BPA Environment, Fish & Wildlife. “These agreements show that the collaboration encouraged by Judge James Redden is the most effective way to leverage results.”


Officials say that, as with the other Fish Accords, “the proposal with the Kalispel Tribe promotes an ongoing collaborative relationship among the parties.”


Under the proposal, according to a press release, “The parties agree that the federal government's requirements under the Endangered Species Act, Clean Water Act and Northwest Power Act are satisfied for the next 10 years and that they will work together to support these agreements in all appropriate venues.”


The Kalispel Indian Reservation is located in Pend Oreille County, Wash., approximately 55 miles north of Spokane, Wash. Portions of the Pend Oreille River and its tributaries lie within the boundaries of the Kalispel Reservation as established in the Executive Order of 1914.


“The development of the federal dams on the Columbia River has had significant, long-term adverse effects on the culture, natural resources and economy of the Kalispel Tribe,” said the press release. “The agreement is designed to support the tribe to mitigate the effects of federal dams on fish and wildlife resources.”


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