The Council asks that parties make recommendations on interim or final biological objectives for the fish and wildlife program at the basinwide and province level that would be meaningful for assessing program success.

The fish and wildlife program consists of the 2000 Program, the mainstem amendments of 2003, and 57 subbasin plans adopted in 2004-05. The program is based on a science and policy framework.

Elements of the framework are:

  • the vision, which describes the desired accomplishments
  • biological objectives, which are the changes in environmental conditions and fish and wildlife populations necessary to achieve the vision
  • implementation strategies, which are the actions needed to achieve the biological objectives, including monitoring and evaluation; and
  • a scientific foundation, which links the elements and explains why certain actions should result in the desired environmental conditions and improvements in fish and wildlife populations.

Biological objectives have three components:

  1. biological performance, which means the response of populations to habitat conditions, such as capacity, abundance, productivity and diversity
  2. environmental characteristics, which describe the environmental conditions or changes sought to achieve the desired population responses, and
  3. the timeframe to achieve the objectives.

Biological objectives should:

  • be science-based
  • help determine the cost effectiveness of program strategies and provide a basis for monitoring, evaluation, and accountability
  • provide quantitative benchmarks for measuring, evaluating, and reporting program performance
  • provide guidance for policy and resource allocation decisions (i.e. artificial production)
  • provide guidance for later program revisions at the basin and subbasin levels
  • be currently or potentially measurable in “real time”
  • be amenable to management actions
  • be able to demonstrate project outcomes
  • help guide decision-making
  • be understandable to the general public
  • define Federal Columbia River Power System obligations
  • encourage partnerships with other ongoing actions, and
  • address hydropower, habitat, harvest, and hatcheries.

Possible categories of biological objectives that fit the program framework include:

  1. Population objectives for focal species (adult abundance, ratio of natural to hatchery fish, artificial production, life history diversity/population structure, productivity; these may be expressed in trends, probabilities, averages or ranges as in absolute numbers)
  2. Species habitat potential (habitat productivity and capacity)
  3. Environmental objectives (a small set of high-level indicators such as increases in streamflow, improvements in water quality, improvements in channel structure and complexity, or removal of barriers)