After two years of significant budget cuts to its fish and wildlife program, a key Bonneville Power Administration executive is anticipating holding steady on its fish and wildlife spending in fiscal year 2020.
A panel of scientists completed their review of 48 Columbia River basin programs and research projects, some of which had not been reviewed since 2010, finding 27 of those projects meet the scientists’ criteria.
Although the abundance of adult white sturgeon in the lower Columbia River is above conservation status as set by a joint Washington/Oregon sturgeon management and conservation plan, the fish have yet to reach desired status abundance levels, a higher number also set by the plan.
The Bonneville Power Administration’s Crystal Ball spoke to the Northwest Power and Conservation Council at its meeting this week in Portland. It was her first appearance at the Council since she assumed the position as the agency’s Executive Manager for its Fish and Wildlife Division. She replaces Bryan Mercier, who left BPA last year.
After a decade without a permit, NOAA Fisheries approved the state of Idaho’s Fisheries Management Plan, a move that is allowing anglers in the state to continue fishing for steelhead in some rivers.
Looking ahead to ensure continued funding for Northwest watercraft inspection stations, the Northwest Power and Conservation Council sent a letter to Rep. Mike Simpson (R-Idaho) asking for an increase in federal funding for the inspection program in 2020.
NOAA Fisheries saw the lowest number of juvenile coho salmon in 21 years in offshore test nets in 2017, leading to low returns of coho to the Columbia River basin one year later in 2018 when they were adults.
Providing access to areas upstream of dams in the Columbia River basin that when built blocked passage for anadromous fish is a priority in many of the amendment proposals to its basin Fish and Wildlife Program received by the Northwest Power and Conservation Council.
The Bonneville Power Administration spent nearly $260 million in direct costs for its Fish and Wildlife Program in fiscal year 2018, according to a draft report approved for public comment by the Northwest Power and Conservation Council.