About 480 recommendations are in hand and due for consideration by the Northwest Power and Conservation Council as it works toward the amendment of its fish and wildlife program for the Columbia-Snake river basin.
Meanwhile, the Council has invited review and comment on the recommendations. Comments must be submitted by Nov. 20.
Copies of the comments can be found at:
The Council program, for which funding is expected to be about $250 million per year by the Bonneville Power Administration, aims to mitigate for impacts to fish and wildlife caused by the operation of the basin’s hydro power system. BPA markets power generated in the Federal Columbia River Power System.
Recommendations regarding the Council program’s operating principles have been received from federal, state and tribal fish and wildlife managers as well as the federal agencies responsible for managing, operating, or regulating the Columbia hydroelectric facilities, the Bonneville utility customers and the region’s other electric utilities. The recommendations also included input from and the public other agencies, conservation groups and literally hundreds of individuals.
The comments will be considered as Council and staff prepares draft amendments to the program. The draft will also be offered for review and discussion.
The Council adopted the current version of the program in 2009. It consists of the program framework; basinwide objectives and strategies; provisions relevant to the mainstem, estuary, ocean, and subbasins; and implementation guidelines. Also part of the program are the subbasin plans for nearly 60 tributaries and mainstem reaches adopted in 2004-05 and 2010-11.
The 1982 Northwest Power Act process must be completed within one year. After consideration of comments and recommendations, the Council is expected to produce draft amendments early next year, and approve final amendments in July.
The Power Act created the NPCC and bid it to develop a program to protect and rebuild fish and wildlife populations affected by hydropower development in the Columbia River basin and requires that that the program strategic plan be updated about every five years to take into account the latest science and goals of the fish and wildlife managers. The Act requires the Council to update the program at least every five years, prior to the Council’s review of its regional electric power and conservation plan.
After consideration of comments and recommendations, the Council is expected to produce draft amendments early next year, and approve final amendments in July.