The Council and Bonneville Power Administration (Bonneville) announce the start of the review process for Mainstem and Program Support projects in the Columbia Basin funded under the Council’s Fish and Wildlife Program (Program). These mainstem and program support projects generally focus on addressing management questions with broad applicability or play a supporting role in the synthesis of basin-wide information and implementation. There are approximately 50 projects included in the Mainstem/Program Support category review.

This page plus Instructions document contains the review schedule, information your project team will need to complete the project proposal form, and contact information, in case you have questions.

Most of these projects have been the subject of numerous reviews in the past. For that reason, important functions of this review will be to

  • evaluate project results and determine whether and how each project has adapted proposed future work based on those results
  • evaluate how well the project sponsors have responded to the scientific and management issues identified in previous Council reviews and recommendations
  • evaluate the collective progress of particular groups of projects that have similar focus

This review is limited to ongoing projects, new Columbia Basin Fish Accord projects, and any projects that have not been reviewed by the Independent Scientific Review Board. This is not a solicitation for new work. However, sponsors of ongoing projects may describe new work elements, phases, or new objectives for their projects based on adaptive management and new priorities, within the organization’s portfolio of projects. All updated information for this review will be submitted and reviewed through

See Instructions document for submitting proposal forms.

Process steps and schedule

This packet marks the start of the proposal phase in which project sponsors update their project proposals at All review materials are due by midnight on January 30, 2019. The Council will make proposals available to the ISRP for review on January 31.

Online proposal form

The online proposal form in has been updated since the 2010-2013 Category reviews. However, the basic structure is still largely the same. Once you initiate the proposal form process and find your project proposal name and number, the pre-loaded proposal form will require mostly updating and revising your content. The pre-entered information will include the narrative and typed fields from your previous proposal (problem statement, objectives, deliverables, etc.). See FAQ’s in the instructions document for further instruction on editing and updating your proposal.

Proposal form assistance

In the Instructions document you'll find help for your proposal form and how to update project information:

  • Getting Started section (initiating the process and finding your proposal)
  • Instructional pop-ups in the form itself (additional detail on specific questions)
  • Frequently Asked Questions (FAQs) (editing, visibility, saving, etc.)
  • Useful links (hyperlinks to relevant web sites for Fish and Wildlife Program data and information, processes and Biological Opinions)

If you need more personal help, please contact Lynn Palensky (503-222-5161). Bonneville and the Council are considering holding a short webinar in early December to walk through the proposal form. If that is something you are interested in, send Lynn an email.

Independent Science Review Panel review

Section 4h(10)(D) of the Northwest Power Act directs the Council to review projects proposed for funding by Bonneville to implement the Council’s Fish and Wildlife Program. The Council engages in this review with the assistance of the Independent Scientific Review Panel (ISRP) which was created by the 1996 amendment to the Northwest Power Act. The ISRP will review all proposals using criteria from the 1996 Amendment to the Northwest Power Act. The amendment states that the ISRP’s project recommendations be based on a determination that projects:

  • Are based on sound science principles
  • Benefit fish and wildlife
  • Have clearly defined objectives and outcomes
  • Have provisions for monitoring and evaluation of results, and
  • Are consistent with the Council’s Fish and Wildlife Program

For individual projects, the ISRP review will focus primarily on project performance by assessing the following project components:

  • the degree to which project objectives are being achieved
  • accomplishments and results
  • the degree to which project objectives, actions, and methods reflect new information gained from those results – adaptive management
  • clear delineation of progress towards completion

Because the ISRP is specifically charged with reviewing “results of prior year expenditures,” results reported through proposals and supporting documents will be critical to the ISRP’s evaluation.

Project presentations

During the preliminary review, project presentations will be organized to share information about projects, add context to the proposals, and provide an opportunity for dialogue between the ISRP and project sponsors. Presentations should focus on results, accomplishments, adaptive management implications, and proposed work. Sponsors are encouraged to participate in project presentations as part of this review process. This exchange of information among project sponsors will help inform ISRP and Council recommendations. We have scheduled time for presentations during the week of February 25 (likely Feb 25-28). Contact Lynn Palensky with any questions or early scheduling requests.

The ISRP will complete a Preliminary Review Report of proposals on April 4, 2019.

The ISRP’s preliminary report will provide written recommendations and comments on each proposal. If the proposal does not contain sufficient information or if issues need to be clarified, the ISRP will request a response from the project sponsor that will be due April 30, 2019.

The ISRP will review these responses and complete a final report by May 30, 2019. This report will include final comments on all proposals and on programmatic issues that apply across many projects, such as identification of information gaps and opportunities for coordination.

The Council begins accepting public comments on the ISRP’s Preliminary Review Report once it is complete and posted on the Council’s website. The public comment period continues through the completion of the ISRP’s Final Report until late July when staff begin developing recommendations for Council consideration.

Council recommendations

Final Council recommendations will include explanations addressing specific requirements of Section 4(h)(10)(D) of the Northwest Power Act. This includes the written explanations required of the Council in those few instances in which the Council’s project funding recommendations do not follow the ISRP’s recommendations. The Council will also explain how it considered “the impact of ocean conditions on fish and wildlife populations” and determined whether the projects “employ cost-effective measures to achieve program objectives.” Council recommendations are anticipated in August 2019.