The Council's fish and wildlife program is the region's program. The Council's process is open to all interested parties. Decisions are made in public, and public comments are crucial in helping the Council shape the program.

Through the planning and implementing of the program, diverse interests from around the Columbia River Basin, from local landowners to state and federal agencies and Indian tribes, have the opportunity to identify and address problems affecting fish and wildlife and to build a mitigation program that is consistent with goals and legal requirements for production, harvest and restoration. By addressing the impacts of hydropower on all fish and wildlife of the basin, the program incorporates actions that benefit both Endangered Species Act-listed and nonlisted fish and wildlife.

Fish and wildlife recovery can be a contentious undertaking, but the collaborative nature of the Council's program development and implementation brings potential litigants to the same table and provides the opportunity to work through areas of disagreement in an open, public process. The result is a scientifically credible mitigation effort that enjoys broad political and public support and is unique in the nation.