the Bonneville Power Administration anticipates more budget cuts to its Fish
and Wildlife program expenditures, the Northwest Power and Conservation
Council’s Fish and Wildlife Committee at its Nov. 12 meeting in Portland laid
out some end of fiscal year adjustments showing what was actually spent in
FY2018. With the adjustments, final expenses were $28 million less than budget.
to FY2019 and beyond, the Committee noted that the final price tag for the
Columbia River Fish Accords 4-year budget was $2 million more than initially
announced prior to officially signing the agreements last month. The increase
was largely due to carryovers from the previous Accord agreements. Much of the
Accords funding is included in the Fish and Wildlife Program expenses. For
example, FY 2018 fish and wildlife spending included $107,886,154 of Accords
with tribes and states.
the Committee and BPA added some detail to first quarter budget cuts to fish
and wildlife funding but added no new projects to its list of cuts. The power marketing
agency hopes to find enough in the budget to cut $30 million each year in
savings. However, its review of quarter one fiscal year 2019 contracts
(contracts with start dates beginning Oct. 1) has come up with reductions of
just $2.7 million, affecting 12 projects, an average cut per project of 25
Cogswell, Executive Vice-President, Environment, Fish and Wildlife at BPA, said
that cuts to projects with contracts that begin in Quarters 2, 3 and 4 should
be available at the Council’s next meeting, Dec. 11 in Portland.
Grover, director of the Council’s Fish and Wildlife Division, said numbers
reported in a Nov. 6 Council memorandum (https://www.nwcouncil.org/sites/default/files/2018_1113_f8.pdf)
were from work by Council staff, “but Bonneville staff has gone out of their
way to make sure the numbers are correct.”
FY 2018 Budget vs Expense
had previously reported that its FY2018 budget was $310,000,000 in expense
funding to support the Columbia Basin fish and wildlife program. Of that,
$33,483,000 was for the Lower Snake River Compensation program, which produces
chinook salmon and steelhead to compensate for losses resulting from
construction of the four lower Snake River dams. The remaining $276,517,000 of
expense funds were dedicated to implementing the fish and wildlife mitigation
requirements under the Northwest Power Act.
according to the memo, BPA adjusted its operating year budget for fish and
wildlife programs to $256 million during the 3rd quarter, which partially
accounts for the impact of the spill surcharge, and at the conclusion of
FY2018, the fish and wildlife program actual expense was $248 million and the
LSRCP expense was $31 million. That totals about $28 million of funds that were
budgeted but unspent. Capital spending was $31 million.
River Fish Accords
Bonneville Power Administration signed a 4-year extension with states and
tribes in August. At that time, BPA said the agreements would cost the region
$106,804,806 over the four years.
to the Nov. 6 Council memo, however, after all Accord agreements were signed,
the actual 4-year cost for the Accords rose by some $2 million. The total Accord
expense for FY’s 2019 through 2022 is $108,605,603.
the announcement date and the final adoption of the accord extensions, several
budget adjustments by Bonneville have had the net effect of increasing the
Accord budgets for many of the signatories and a decrease for one, Idaho,” the
state of Idaho was cut by over $707,000 a year, bringing the amount paid to the
state for accords to $0. BPA and Idaho recently entered into a separate
Northern Idaho wildlife agreement that settled funding for that purpose through
the long-term agreement, according to the memo.
Colville Tribes will receive more than $1.4 million more each year and the
Yakima Nation about $300,000 more each year.
Grover, Council Fish and Wildlife director, wondered if the Accords would go
the full four years given an Oct. 19 Presidential Memorandum on Promoting the
Reliable Supply and Delivery of Water in the West. The memo requires the
Columbia River power system environmental impact statement and biological
opinion to be completed by 2020 instead of the court-ordered date of 2021.
revised schedule by BPA, the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers, the Bureau of
Reclamation and NOAA Fisheries is to be submitted to the Chair of the Council
on Environmental Quality within 60 days of the date of the Presidential
memorandum. That would be December 19.
CBB, October 26, 2018, “Administration Memo Cuts Basin Salmon BiOp Schedule By
One Year, Trims Regs For Water Projects,” http://www.cbbulletin.com/441725.aspx)
personal reading of that – and the BPA folks are silent on it – it looks like
the Accords could terminate earlier by a year. It’s possible it could turn the
Accords into a three-year deal,” Grover said.
his May 2016 remand of the 2014 Federal Columbia River Power System biological
opinion for salmon and steelhead, U.S. District Court Judge Michael H. Simon
directed NOAA Fisheries, BPA, BOR and the Corps to complete the EIS and BiOp
with a Record of Decision by September 2021. The Trump memo moves up the finish
date for the EIS/BiOp to 2020.
rejection of the 2014 BiOp was the fifth time a federal judge has rejected an
FCRPS BiOp in a hydroelectric system that impacts thirteen species of salmon
and steelhead listed as endangered or threatened under the federal Endangered
Species Act. Previous challenged BiOps were in 2000, 2004, 2008 and a
supplemental BiOp in 2010.
while on a schedule to complete a BiOp in 2021, NOAA Fisheries recently said it
needs to also complete a BiOp by the end of this year to meet National
Environmental Policy Act requirements for salmon and steelhead protections.
NOAA had said in May the incidental take coverage for operation of the system
expires at the end of 2018 and to ensure ESA compliance, it needs to complete a
BiOp this year.
cuts that affect twelve fish and wildlife projects with contracts that begin
October 1, 2018 (FY 2019) total $2,714,309 and have not changed since the October
Council meeting. Many of the first cuts are of projects that BPA says do not
provide fish benefits -- its top policy decision as it considers further cuts.
announced to the Council at its meeting in Portland June 12 that it must cut
its direct spending for fish and wildlife programs by 10 percent or about $30
million a year due to the agency’s fiscal uncertainties. Bonneville funds
regional fish and wildlife projects associated with the four-state Council’s
Columbia River Basin Fish and Wildlife program. For more information about the
Council, its regional fish and wildlife program and program projects go to https://www.nwcouncil.org/fish-and-wildlife
Council lists in its memo these projects scheduled for cuts:
50 percent reduction in funding for the Columbia Basin Bulletin for 2019 and
elimination in 2020: $148,412.
Proposed program-wide 50 percent reduction in funding in FY2019 and elimination
in FY2020 for Bonneville funded conferences.
Beginning in FY 2018 Bonneville reduced travel and registration fees for
conference attendance by project sponsors.
Reductions in funding for technical assistance functions of some umbrella
projects, and estuary habitat work.
Reduce Water Transaction Program funds by $1 million.
Reduce StreamNet funding by $82,512 and reduce funding to other data management
Proposed two year ramp down of Select Area Fisheries Enhancement (SAFE) program
beginning in FY2020, which Bonneville currently budgets at $1,908,145 per year.
BPA has agreed to maintain the current budget working with the sponsors to
identify other project reductions in FY19.
Reduce Lower Snake River Compensation program funding by about $2.3 to $3.0
Permanently eliminate most funding for Columbia Habitat and Monitoring Program
(CHaMP) and the Integrated Status and Effectiveness Monitoring Program (ISEMP)
projects. These projects were funded at just over $7,000,000 in FY 2017 and
budgets were first reduced in FY 2018 with the goal of contracting these
projects for about $1,500,000 in FY 2019.
Budget adjustments with the Kootenai Tribe of Idaho.
CBB, October 12, 2018, “Council Hears Update On Latest BPA Funding Reductions
To Fish And Wildlife Program Projects,” http://www.cbbulletin.com/441652.aspx
CBB, October 26, 2018, “Feds, Tribes, States Sign Extended Columbia Basin Fish
Accords; $400 Million For Fish/Wildlife,” http://www.cbbulletin.com/441723.aspx
August 17, 2018, “Council Gets Update On BPA Efforts To Reduce Funding For
Fish/Wildlife Program Projects,” http://www.cbbulletin.com/441295.aspx
July 13, 2018, “Council F&W Committee Talks Policy About BPA Project
Funding Cuts, Columbia Basin Fish Accords,” http://www.cbbulletin.com/441105.aspx
June 15, 2018, “Bonneville Power Looking At Spending Reductions In Columbia
Basin Fish/Wildlife Spending,” http://www.cbbulletin.com/440947.aspx
May 18, 2018, “Draft Report On Columbia Basin Fish/Wildlife Costs In 2017 Out
For Review; $450.4 Million,” http://www.cbbulletin.com/440762.aspx
February 2, 2018, “Bonneville Power Releases Five Year Strategic Plan,