Even with missing information, the Northwest Power and Conservation Council last week approved putting the draft Part I of the 2020 “Fish and Wildlife Addendum” to the 2004 Columbia River Basin Fish and Wildlife Program out for public comment. The addendum addresses program goals, objectives and measurements of progress.
Since state shutdowns in March due to the Covid-19 pandemic, fish and wildlife programs and projects in the Columbia River basin have seen a range of impacts, from no impact to project delays to an early hatchery release of Kootenai white sturgeon and burbot, and even some project cancellations, according to staff at the Northwest Power and Conservation Council.
A disagreement between the Bonneville Power Administration and the Northwest Power and Conservation Council on the amount of money available through a cost-savings fund is resulting in underfunding what the Council says are two important Columbia River basin fish and wildlife projects – ocean salmon survival research and northern pike suppression.
Direct expenses in fiscal year 2019 by the Bonneville Power Administration for costs it incurred by funding the Northwest Power and Conservation Council’s Fish and Wildlife Program amounted to $240.4 million, some $19 million lower than its direct expenses in FY 2018, according to a draft report released this week for public review by the Council.
The Northwest Power and Conservation Council this week took a major step towards updating the 2014 Columbia River Basin Fish and Wildlife Program when it adopted Part II of the proposed Addendum to the Program.
In moving toward an updating of the Columbia River Basin Fish and Wildlife Program, the Northwest Power and Conservation Council this week discussed some of the key unresolved issues, such as salmon reintroduction above blocked areas and predator management.
Climate change, reintroducing salmon and steelhead to areas blocked by dams, dam breaching and predators topped the list of issues in comments received by the Northwest Power and Conservation Council’s Fish and Wildlife Committee in response to a draft Addendum to its Columbia River Basin 2014 Fish and Wildlife Program.
Part of a process that was to be decided by the Northwest Power and Conservation Council’s Fish and Wildlife Committee this January will instead take a step back, adding as many as six months to determine the most appropriate goals, objectives and indicators to be included in the Council’s draft 2020 Columbia River Basin Fish and Wildlife Program Addendum.
A panel of scientists completed a review of the Upper Columbia United Tribes’ phase 1 report that describes the feasibility of reintroducing salmon and steelhead into the reaches of the Columbia River upstream of Chief Joseph and Grand Coulee dams.