“Resident Fish, Data Management and Regional Coordination” fish and wildlife project proponents, who had requested some $57 million in annual funding for next year, got the goal-ahead from the Northwest Power and Conservation Council last week.
The NPCC, meeting in Boise July 10-11, recommended funding of the list of projects by the Bonneville Power Administration, which markets power produced at federal dams in the Columbia River basin, which includes the Snake and Willamette rivers. BPA funds fish and wildlife restoration projects, in large part through the Council’s Columbia River Basin Fish and Wildlife Program, as mitigation for hydro system impacts, to satisfy tribal trust and treaty obligations and to boost stocks listed under the Endangered Species Act.
The Council is charged with recommending implementation of projects for fiscal years 2013 through 2017.
Bonneville during its contracting process will decide on specific funding levels for particular projects.
The recent recommendation is part of a process designed by the Council and staff to review projects submitted for funding. The process includes an assessment of each project for technical merit by the Council’s independent Scientific Review Panel. The Council over the past two years has completed reviews of project proposals in its research, monitoring and evaluation/artificial production and wildlife categories.
The project funding requests within the resident fish category were led by a $14.1 million total from the Kootenai Tribe of Idaho, which last year embarked on a major habitat restoration in the river that is intended to benefit burbot, white sturgeon and other native species. The resident fish category funding requests for fiscal year 2013 total nearly $47 million. The projects are expected to improve the status of resident fish above dams in the system that block off upstream and downstream passage or former residents such as salmon.
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