Columbia River Basin Fish and Wildlife Program

2009 02

Past programs and processes:

Background

In February 2009, following more than a year of work, the Council adopted a revision of the Columbia River Basin Fish and Wildlife Program, the first complete revision since 2005. The 2009 Program is based on recommendations of the region's fish and wildlife managers and Indian tribes and reflects extensive public comments on the recommendations and on a draft program the Council circulated widely during the summer of 2008.

The 2009 Program:

  • Emphasizes implementation of fish and wildlife projects based on needs identified in locally developed subbasin management plans (these plans are included in the program) and also on actions described in federal biological opinions on hydropower operations, hatcheries, and harvest, Endangered Species Act recovery plans, and the 2008 Fish Accords signed by federal agencies, Indian tribes, and the states of Idaho and Montana
  • Continues the Council's commitment to independent scientific review of all projects proposed for funding through the program, including those actions described in the biological opinions and the 2008 Fish Accords
  • Focuses on protecting and restoring habitat in order to rebuild healthy, naturally producing fish and wildlife populations
  • Addresses specific issues such as the impacts of global climate change, toxic substances, and invasive species on fish, wildlife, and habitat
  • Increases project performance and fiscal accountability by establishing reporting guidelines and using adaptive management to guide decision-making
  • Commits to a periodic and systematic exchange of science and policy information
  • Emphasizes a more focused monitoring and evaluation framework coupled with a commitment to use the information obtained to make better decisions
  • Calls for a renewed regional effort to develop quantitative biological objectives for the program
  • Retains an interim objective recommended by the region’s fish and wildlife managers of increasing salmon and steelhead runs to 5 million fish by 2025 and achieving smolt-to-adult return rates of 2 to 6 percent
  • Addresses passage problems for lamprey and sturgeon at the mainstem dams
  • Proposes changes in some hatchery practices to create a more balanced, ecological approach to fish production
  • Retains a crediting formula for wildlife losses of two new units of habitat for each lost habitat unit
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