for amendments to the Northwest Power and Conservation Council’s Columbia River
Basin Fish and Wildlife Program received from state and federal agencies,
tribes, Bonneville Power Administration customers, environmental and
conservation groups and individuals are now out for public comment.
Northwest Power Act of 1980 requires the Council to periodically – at least
every five years – update its basin Fish and Wildlife Program by first
soliciting from the public recommendations that would amend the Program. The
Council Fish and Wildlife Committee is to do this before the full Council
adopts its new Regional Northwest Power Plan, which it will do in 2020.
Fish and Wildlife Committee solicited recommendations to amend its 2014
Columbia Basin Fish and Wildlife Program at its meeting in May, setting a Sept.
4 deadline for receiving recommendations. It extended that deadline 90 days to
Dec. 13 at its September meeting after hearing from tribes, states and BPA that
they needed more time to craft their messages.
the Dec. 13 deadline the Committee had received 51 letters, some with numerous
amendment recommendations, and is now asking for public comment on the
recommendations. Comments are due back to the Committee no later than Feb. 4,
amendment recommendations are at https://app.nwcouncil.org/fw/program/2018amend/recs/.
To comment, go to each letter containing recommendations.
May letter soliciting amendment recommendations is at https://www.nwcouncil.org/fish-and-wildlife/fish-and-wildlife-program/request-2018-recommendations-2014-fw-program.
the recommendations to the Fish and Wildlife Plan were those sent by NOAA
appreciate the Council's diligent efforts in working to restore and conserve
the Columbia River ecosystem,” said Barry Thom, regional administrator for NOAA
Fisheries. “Great strides have been made just in the short time since the 2014
FWP was adopted, and I am optimistic that the 2019 FWP will continue the
Council's trajectory of conservation success in many program areas.”
his cover letter to NOAA’s recommendations, Thom suggested that the Council’s
Program should reflect recently completed federal salmon and steelhead Endangered
Species Act recovery plans.
we recommend incorporating key biological opinions recently completed, or
nearly so, such as those involving the Federal Columbia River System (CRSO),
U.S. v. OR, and numerous hatchery genetic management plans. It is also
important that the 2019 FWP incorporate the deliberations and agreements
reached in recent years around biological goals and objectives for salmon and
steelhead through the Columbia Basin Partnership Task Force (CBP Task Force).”
Comments from the Public Power Council, Northwest RiverPartners, PNGC Power and
Northwest Requirements Utilities (https://app.nwcouncil.org/fw/program/2018amend/recs/rec?&id=755)
also suggested that the Council incorporate “by reference” biological opinion
requirements and that it should be aware of the new BiOp and National
Environmental Policy Act “processes and be flexible enough to incorporate the
related actions upon their completion.”
that the Council and regional fish and wildlife managers have been very
proactive in understanding its competitiveness concerns and have
collaboratively worked through budget reduction and prioritization efforts with
the agency, BPA’s recommendations “focus on documenting historic Program
accomplishments, prioritizing Program measures and objectives, understanding
cost-effective mitigation alternatives, and tracking statutory
responsibilities,” according to BPA’s cover letter signed by Scott Armentrout,
Executive Vice President of Environment, Fish and Wildlife (https://app.nwcouncil.org/fw/program/2018amend/recs/rec?&id=765).
offering recommendations to the Council’s program was the Columbia River Inter-Tribal
Fish Commission (https://app.nwcouncil.org/fw/program/2018amend/recs/rec?&id=741)
on behalf of its member tribes the Yakama Nation, the Confederated Tribes of
the Umatilla Indian Reservation, the Confederated Tribes of the Warm Springs
Reservation of Oregon and the Nez Perce Tribe. These tribes also submitted
recommended to the Council to incorporate into the 2014 Program all commitments
identified in the 2018 Extension to the 2008 Lower River Tribes and CRITFC
Columbia Fish Accords.
tribes that offered recommendations are the Burns Paiute Tribe, Coeur d’Alene
Tribe, Confederated Salish and Kootenai Tribes, Confederated Tribes of the
Grand Ronde, Confederated Tribes of the Colville Reservation, Cowlitz Indian
Tribe, Kalispel Tribe of Indians, Kootenai Tribe of Idaho, Shoshone-Bannock
Tribe and Spokane Tribe of Indians, as well as the Upper Snake River Tribes
Moore, director of the Idaho Department of Fish and Wildlife, in his cover
letter recommended the Council focus on Bonneville Power Administration funding
for long-term operation and maintenance of assets the Program has already
Idaho comments address, quantitative goals and for salmon and steelhead,
predator management, fish propagation and adaptive management (research,
monitoring and evaluation).
suggests that the Council Program adopt quantitative goals for salmon and
steelhead populations that are being developed concurrently to the Council
amendment process by the Columbia Basin Partnership Task Force.
objective of the Council under the new Program should be to evaluate progress
toward meeting quantitative escapement goals for natural-origin salmon and
steelhead that includes developing a basic understanding of the underlying
factors (and relevancy of those factors) affecting achievement of those goals,”
Sierra Club, Save Our Wild Salmon, Idaho Rivers United and the Association of
Northwest Steelheaders in their joint recommendations (https://app.nwcouncil.org/fw/program/2018amend/recs/rec?&id=758)
also said that the Council’s Program “must move beyond calling for a discussion
to develop specific, quantitative biological objectives for measuring Program
progress and actually identify and adopt a comprehensive suite of such
measures.” The groups are represented by attorney Todd True of Earthjustice.
the comments provided by the Conservation Angler, a wild fish conservation
is managed to secure spawner escapement by hatchery to provide the eggs needed
to achieve production criteria. But wild salmon and steelhead are not managed
so that spawner escapement criteria by natal stream are achieved to fully
utilize the available habitat. The consequence is that wild salmonids are
declining. The Council’s Fish and Wildlife Program can be improved by including
criteria for wild salmon and steelhead recovery by subbasin.”
its recommendations, the group addresses river specific management, factors
limiting recovery and hatchery impacts, among others.
the Council Fish and Wildlife Committee receive comments in early February, it
still has a lengthy process to complete before it adopts final amendments in
December 2019. Fish and Wildlife staff will review the recommendations with the
Council at its Feb. 12-13, 2019 meeting and will continue those reviews until
the amendment process is complete, according to a Committee draft planning
Some additional Committee and Council meetings may be required through the
amendment language is expected in July, which kicks off a public comment
process on the draft. A final amendment will be adopted at the Council’s
December 2019 meeting.
1980 Northwest Power Act directed the creation of the Council, an interstate
compact agency with two representatives each appointed by the governors of
Idaho, Montana, Oregon, and Washington.
Act requires the Council to develop a program to “protect, mitigate, and
enhance fish and wildlife, including related spawning grounds and habitat, on
the Columbia River and its tributaries … affected by the development,
operation, and management of [hydroelectric projects] while assuring the
Pacific Northwest an adequate, efficient, economical, and reliable power
Act also says that the Council must update or amend the fish and wildlife
program every five years, using the advice of federal, state and tribal fish
and wildlife managers to take into account advancements in science. The Council
must seek widespread public involvement in the formulation of regional power
and fish and wildlife policies.
Council’s current program has helped direct as much as $250 million per year in
recent years to mitigate for the impacts of hydropower dams in the
Columbia-Snake river basin on fish and wildlife. The program is funded by the
Bonneville Administration with funds collected from ratepayers. BPA markets
power generated at the federal dams.
CBB, August 17, 2018, “Deadline Extended For Amendments To Columbia River Basin
Fish And Wildlife Program.” http://www.cbbulletin.com/441298.aspx/
CBB, July 20, 2018, “Connecting Salmon Recovery Efforts: Columbia Basin Partnership
Releases Vision Statement, Goals,” http://www.cbbulletin.com/441138.aspx
May 11, 2018, “Council Releases Recommendations Letter As First Step In
Amending Basin Fish And Wildlife Program,” http://www.cbbulletin.com/440702.aspx
March 16, 2018, “Tentative Schedule For Amending Four-State Columbia River
Basin Fish And Wildlife Program Outlined,” http://www.cbbulletin.com/440359.aspx
CBB, Jan. 19, 2018, “Council Mulling Issues Likely To Arise During Coming
Update Of Basin Fish And Wildlife Program” http://www.cbbulletin.com/440106.aspx
CBB, October 10, 2014, “NW Power/Conservation Council Approves New Columbia
River Basin Fish and Wildlife Program,” http://www.cbbulletin.com/432366.aspx