Members of a regional partnership kicked off
by NOAA Fisheries in early 2017 have agreed in principle to a vision statement
and provisional goals.
The Columbia Basin Partnership Task Force
first met in Portland January 24, 2017 seeking an all-inclusive region-wide
effort to connect various salmon recovery efforts. That first meeting was a
long-time in the making with NOAA having first announced its intentions to
convene the Partnership in October 2015.
Multiple, sometimes overlapping, recovery
plans are present across the region, Barry Thom, regional administrator of NOAA
Fisheries West Coast Region, told the group of more than 35 people at the
January 2017 meeting.
The idea of a Partnership actually took form
out of NOAA’s 2012 Columbia Basin Assessment. Thoms said that the Assessment
effort pointed out an absence of long-term integrated salmon recovery goals in
the region, although there are many different plans for recovery, and that
those plans are not all working in the same direction. The Assessment also
highlighted NOAA’s leadership role and that the region needed to have a broad
conversation about recovery, he concluded.
Today the Task Force has 28 members and one ex
officio member, all organized under NOAA’s Marine Fisheries Advisory Committee
representing tribes, states and diverse stakeholders.
The Partnership, according to a Northwest
Power and Conservation Council July 5 Memorandum (https://www.nwcouncil.org/sites/default/files/2018_0710_f3.pdf)
is focused on developing goals for 24 stocks of fish listed as threatened or
endangered under the federal Endangered Species Act.
“These stocks represent groupings of the
recognized 327 salmon and steelhead populations in the Columbia Basin,
consisting of the 210 extant, 117 extirpated, and 18 reintroduced populations,”
the memo says. “142 of the extant populations are ESA listed.”
The Task Force is seeking comments from its
constituents during a June to October outreach period. That input will be taken
up at the Partnership meeting Oct. 2-3 in Portland.
“By the end of the October meeting the CBP
Task Force members will finalize what elements they support moving forward as
part of their Recommendations Report to MAFAC,” the Council memo says. “This
Recommendation Report may include a description of the Task Force process,
related work products, provisional goals, vision statement, and description of
a Phase 2 process to continue the Task Force’s work in integrating the goals
across species and to begin analyzing how these goals can be achieved.”
“Now the Partnership has its products out and
wants feedback (from the Council’s Fish and Wildlife Committee) on it,” Tony
Grover, Fish and Wildlife Director at the Council, told the Committee at its
meeting July 10 in Missoula. That feedback, he said, would be shared with the
Columbia Basin Task Force during August and October Partnership meetings.
The Council “agreed to merge their efforts of
refining Program salmon and steelhead quantitative goals with the NOAA’S
Columbia Basin Partnership Task Force effort,” the memo says.
The Task Force vision statement and proposed
guiding principles (http://www.westcoast.fisheries.noaa.gov/publications/col_basin_partnership/2018_outreach/mafac_cbptf_vision___proposed_guiding_principles_-_6.21.18.pdf)
were completed and released June 21, 2018.
A healthy Columbia River Basin ecosystem with
thriving salmon and steelhead that are indicators of clean and abundant water,
reliable and clean energy, a robust regional economy, and vibrant cultural and
spiritual traditions, all interdependent and existing in harmony.
Proposed Guiding Principles:
Fairness: Foster a culture of respect, equity
and generosity and be accountable for our interests.
Openness & Transparency: Everything is on
the table – recognize yours and others’ needs, acknowledge fears, threats and
limitations to success, and be willing to re-evaluate them together.
Obligations & Responsibilities: Honor
legal, statutory, treaty/trust and regulatory obligations, rights, and
Clarity: Collaboratively arrive at solutions
that improve regulatory and legal certainty.
Sustainability: Strive for durable and
practical outcomes, seeking clarity while acknowledging a dynamic
social/cultural, economic and natural landscape.
Knowledge & Wisdom: Ground decisions and
recommendations in science, while accepting that science may not be definitive.
Innovation & Adaptiveness: Plan for the
long term, act in the short term and be bold in the face of uncertainty and
Interconnection & Complexity: Envision a
healthy and resilient ecosystem. Assume there are multiple solutions to
resolving Basin issues.
The four provisional goals are:
1. Restore salmon and steelhead in the
Columbia Basin to healthy and harvestable/fishable levels.
2. Provide diverse, productive, and dependable
tribal and non-tribal harvest and fishing opportunities for Columbia Basin
salmon and steelhead in fresh and marine waters.
3. Produce hatchery salmon and steelhead to
support conservation, mitigate for lost natural production, and support
fisheries, in a manner that strategically aligns hatchery production with
natural production recovery goals.
4. Make decisions within a broader context
that reflects, and considers effects to, the full range of social, cultural,
economic, and ecosystem values and diversity in the Columbia Basin
Each of the goals has sub-goals and timing on
achieving the sub-goal out 25 years, 50 years and 100 years. Goal 1 has four
sub-goals: prevent declines, achieve ESA delisting, achieve broad sense
recovery and expand spatial and temporal range.
Goal 2 sub-goals are ensure sustainability,
optimize harvest and fishery opportunity and share benefits.
Goal 3 sub-goals are support natural
production, mitigate for lost production and support fisheries, and fish
Goal 4 sub-goals are broader goals that
pervade the entire process and have no particular timing. They are social goal,
cultural goal, economic goal and ecosystem goal.
for the complete list of goals, sub-goals and timing.
According to the Council memo, Partnership
workgroups made up of the region’s tribal, state and federal fish managers, and
led by technical consultant Ray Beamesderfer, have been instrumental in
drafting low, medium and high potential goal ranges for natural and wild
components of the 24 stocks. That information is at http://www.westcoast.fisheries.noaa.gov/publications/col_basin_partnership/2018_outreach/cbp-quantitative-goals-methodology.pdf
--CBB, January 27, 2017, “NOAA Kicks Off
Columbia Basin Partnership Task Force: Can Salmon Recovery Efforts Be
--CBB, July 22, 2016, “Feds Seeking
Nominations For New Salmon/Steelhead ‘Columbia Basin Partnership Task Force’” http://www.cbbulletin.com/437175.aspx
-- CBB, Oct. 30, 2015, “NOAA Fisheries Forms
‘Columbia Basin Partnership’ To Provide Collaborative Forum On
-- CBB, Dec. 14, 2012, “NOAA Launches
‘Situation Assessment’ Of Columbia River Basin Salmon, Steelhead Recovery” http://www.cbbulletin.com/424217.aspx
-- CBB, Dec. 20, 2013, “Salmon Recovery
Assessment: Who Leads The Long-Term Way? A Re-Defined NW Power/Conservation