A draft annual report offered this week by the Northwest Power and Conservation Council for public takes a look back at everything from the effectiveness of its fish and wildlife program to power system happenings during fiscal year 2011, which ends at the end of the month.
The draft report, “State of the Columbia River Basin, provides an overview of the Council’s planning activities regarding electricity in the Pacific Northwest and fish and wildlife in the Columbia River basin in fiscal year 2011, as well as information about salmon and steelhead returns to the basin in calendar year 2010 and the effectiveness of the Council’s Columbia River Basin Fish and Wildlife Program.”
The Council’s approval of the draft during its meeting Wednesday in Astoria begins a 90-day comment period. Comments will help shape a final version of the annual report, which will be forwarded to Congress in January. The annual report is required by the Northwest Power Act of 1980, the federal law that authorized the states of Idaho, Montana, Oregon, and Washington to create the Council.
The report notes that fiscal year 2011 was cooler and damper than normal in the Pacific Northwest, which resulted in high snowpack and runoff to fuel the region’s Columbia/Snake River hydro system. An abundance of hydropower in spring and early summer led to controversy over the shutting down by the Bonneville Power Administration of wind
turbines to accommodate the geneneration. BPA markets power generated in the federal Columbia River System and controls most of the region’s power transmission system.
The draft report includes an update on salmon and steelhead returns to the Columbia River, which in 2010 continued the trend of recent years, with most runs equaling or surpassing average run sizes for the previous 10 years.
During 2011 the Council and staff completed a review process by recommending funding for a total of 143 research and monitoring projects, some new and some ongoing, to improve scientific knowledge about fish and wildlife throughout the Columbia River Basin. The estimated annual costs of the projects is $100 million. BPA funds the NPCC program with ratepayer revenues as mititation for impacts to fish and wildlife caused by the hydro system.
In recommending the projects to Bonneville, the Council emphasized that some are experimental and funding beyond the first year will depend on demonstrated effectiveness. Information about the projects is on the Council website at: www.nwcouncil.
The report also includes specific information about the Council’s activities, organized around the Council’s major responsibilities. The report concludes with information about the Council’s budget and administration.
The draft report can be found at: