NOAA Fisheries, the Bonneville Power Administration and the Northwest Power and Conservation Council are collaborating to create one shared Columbia River basin habitat research, monitoring and evaluation strategy.
With an anticipated low return of upriver steelhead – those that will cross Bonneville Dam – in the Columbia River this year, Oregon and Washington have taken steps to protect the listed fish.
The goal at East Sand Island in the lower Columbia River estuary is to limit the number of double-crested cormorants nesting on the island to 5,600 breeding pairs to limit the birds’ impacts on juvenile salmon and steelhead, according to Jeffery Henon, spokesperson for the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers.
The Washington Department of Ecology is demanding the Environmental Protection Agency hold more than two “online public hearings” as the federal agency moves forward on efforts to revise the state’s “fish consumption rule” which guides water quality standards.
It’s been one of the driest years recorded in the Kootenai River Basin, but recent rains have delivered some relief with increased inflows into Lake Koocanusa, helping to maintain minimum bull trout flows on the Kootenai River and maintain the reservoir elevation, a U.S. Army Corps of Engineers representative informed the Technical Management Team on Wednesday.
Irrigation diversions move some water into a canal or pipeline where it can be used for irrigation, but they pose challenges for fish due to changes in water flow, damaged habitats, and blocked migration routes. A specific concern are the millions of fish that could be “entrained” or travel into a harmful environment and outside the natural flow of water because of such structures.
Members of the U.S. panel charged with negotiating a modernized Columbia River Treaty heard from a variety of Idaho-centric interests Thursday in Boise, with a contrast between those urging status quo security in hydro operations and those seeking “ecosystem function” provisions in a new treaty.
Following up on a Phase 1 investigation of fish passage and reintroduction of salmon and steelhead upstream of Chief Joseph and Grand Coulee dams that was completed last month by the Upper Columbia United Tribes, the Northwest Power and Conservation Council this week approved a letter asking the Independent Scientific Advisory Board to review the report.
A system operational request brought to the interagency Technical Management Team this week by fisheries managers and approved by both fisheries and hydro managers helps clarify priorities for the use of cool water from Dworshak Reservoir on the North Fork of the Clearwater River in Idaho.