Northwest Power and Conservation Council and Bonneville Power Administration have
narrowed nine proposed white sturgeon projects down to three and are now
working to refine those proposals.
Council cost-savings workgroup, led by Council Member Jennifer Anders, Montana,
had identified as much as $300,000 that could be used for the sturgeon projects
that were to begin this fiscal year.
instead of funding the projects in fiscal year 2017, BPA said at the Council
meeting in Missoula, Tuesday, April 11, that the time it takes to initiate a
new project, plus its financial situation, will cause a delay in funding the
projects into fiscal year 2018, which begins October 1. Under BPA’s Fish and
Wildlife program funding, it typically takes 4 to 6 months to get a proposed
scope of work to an executed contract.
fiscal year 2017 financial situation is deteriorating and we’re doing some
belt-tightening,” said Bryan Mercier of BPA, noting power market conditions.
forecasts show that the agency expects to end fiscal year 2017 with revenues
that are lower than expected,” Mercier said in an email this week. “This is
mostly driven by lower than forecasted revenues from our Power and Transmission
Operations, which is due in large part to the volatility of energy markets and
the changing energy marketplace.”
all BPA departments, managers and employees are being asked to tighten their
belts. Like all other areas of the agency, BPA Fish and Wildlife employees have
been asked to review expenditures, he said. “For 2017, this means reducing
travel and training budgets, taking more time to fill vacant positions, and
delaying some projects until FY18.”
he said, “Once we start these sturgeon projects, we plan on completing their
scope of work.”
Council’s Fish and Wildlife Committee and BPA approved a request for
information (https://www.nwcouncil.org/fw/2017sturgeonrfi/) to fund
project-ready sturgeon projects at its meeting in Portland January 10 and
released the RFI January 13. At the time, Tony Grover, director of the
Council’s Fish and Wildlife section, said the Council wants to “speed up the
assessment of sturgeon populations above Bonneville Dam and into the Snake
RFI sought information from white sturgeon managers and scientists on
“ready-to-implement” Columbia and Snake river white sturgeon assessments of
population status, spawning success, spawning habitat or susceptibility to
predation, with the funding to be available during fiscal years 2017 and 2018.
the proposals received by the RFI’s February 28 deadline nine were from six
entities. The Council Fish and Wildlife staff, along with BPA, whittled that
down to four new projects that had the most potential to be funded. One of
those projects backed out – a proposal from Golder Associates to monitor
sturgeon at Ice Harbor Dam on the Snake River – leaving three proposals.
was directed at the March Fish and Wildlife Committee meeting to move forward
with clarifying questions to the sponsors of four proposals. That is still in
process, according to Lynn Palensky of the Council’s Fish and Wildlife staff.
questions include: scientific information necessary for a full proposal;
detailed implementation timeline; and a confirmation of interest to proceed to
next steps,” an April 4 Council Fish and Wildlife Memorandum says
(https://www.nwcouncil.org/media/7491037/f5.pdf). “The responses will help us
shape funding and implementation recommendations and identify any additional
review steps necessary before finalizing recommendations.”
three remaining projects the Council staff is considering for funding are:
Department of Fish and Wildlife, along with other partners, propose to do white
sturgeon population status assessments between Ice Harbor and Lower Granite
dams on the lower Snake River in Washington.
Columbia River Inter-Tribal Fish Commission and the Yakama Tribes propose to
develop a genetic marker to determine the sex of white sturgeon that can be
used in status assessments.
Oregon Department of Fish and Wildlife proposes tagging and tracking and then
analyzing their data of white sturgeon to assess spawning staging areas, their
behavior and habitat in the John Day Dam pool.
addition to Anders, Palensky, Grover and Mercier, the Council cost savings
workgroup is composed of Peter Cogswell and Scott Donahue of BPA, and Kerry
Berg and Laura Robinson of the Council’s Fish and Wildlife staff.
cost savings workgroup initially developed a cost savings methodology, which
was approved by the Council at its July, 2015 meeting in Spokane. See
information about the workgroup and methodology used to determine eligible cost
savings can be found at http://www.nwcouncil.org/fw/cost-savings-group/
February 17, 2017, “Through Other Funding, Council Able To Reduce O&M
Commitment To Northwest Hatcheries,” http://www.cbbulletin.com/438347.aspx
January 19, 2017, “Council, BPA Release ‘Request For Information’ On ‘Ready To
Implement’ Sturgeon Projects,” http://www.cbbulletin.com/438206.aspx
December 22, 2016, “Council FW Committee Identifies More Than $500,000 In
Project Cost Savings To Free Up For Others,” http://www.cbbulletin.com/438117.aspx
November 18, 2016, “Council’s ‘Cost-Savings’ Workgroup Earmarks Some FW Project
Cost Savings For Hatchery Repairs,” http://www.cbbulletin.com/437987.aspx
May 20, 2016, “Council’s ‘Cost Savings Workgroup’ Looking To Review More
CBB, “Council Approves More Than $550K In Cost-Savings From FW Projects; Money
Goes To Emerging Priorities,” http://www.cbbulletin.com/436489.aspx
CBB, March 11, 2016, “BPA, Council Identify More Than $500,000 In Cost Savings
In Fish And Wildlife Projects,” http://www.cbbulletin.com/436206.aspx
CBB, August 14, 2015, “Council, BPA Move Forward On Efforts To Fund ‘Emerging’
Fish/Wildlife Project Priorities” http://www.cbbulletin.com/434736.aspx