June 15, 2001
Dear Mr. Crow:
This letter provides the recommendations of the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) regarding the Mainstem Columbia and Snake Rivers for Amendments to the Northwest Power Planning Council's Columbia River Basin Fish and Wildlife Program.
As you know, the states of Oregon, Washington and Idaho have just recently initiated, with EPA Region 10 and the Columbia Basin Tribes, the development of Columbia/Snake River Mainstem Total Maximum Daily Loads (TMDLs) for dissolved gas and water temperature. These TMDLs will characterize the sources of total dissolved gas and temperature loadings and allocate those loadings to meet state and tribal water quality standards promulgated under the Clean Water Act. These TMDLs will enhance and support the intense Columbia River fish restoration effort currently underway in the Columbia River Basin.
EPA requests that any amendments to the Fish and Wildlife Program reflect the priorities, schedules and work efforts of the state/EPA/tribal Columbia and Snake Mainstem TMDL effort. The ultimate goal of this TMDL effort is to achieve state and tribal water quality standards. The daunting complexity of the Columbia River poses many challenges to meeting this goal, and it is important that efforts to restore and protect fish and wildlife emphasize a commitment to water quality improvements to meet the Clean Water Act.
The development of this Columbia/Snake River Mainstem TMDL will bring together many efforts and will require careful coordination and management by all parties. Support of the Northwest Power Planning Council and consistency with ongoing efforts such as the TMDL will be critical to the restoration of the Columbia Basin ecosystem. If you need any additional information, please contact Dan Opalski or Mary Lou Soscia at (503) 326-3250.
Charles E. Findley
Acting Regional Administrator
cc: Stephanie Hallock, Oregon Department of Environmental Quality
Tom Fitzsimmons, Washington Department of Ecology
Steve Allred, Idaho Department of Environmental Quality