This letter reflects the final Council decision for Innovative Proposals for Fiscal Years 2008-09. At its September 2007 meeting in Portland, the Council decided on a set of five proposals to recommend to Bonneville to implement under the Council’s Columbia River Basin Fish and Wildlife Program in those fiscal years.

The Council recommends funding the following proposals and funding amounts:

Proposal NumberProposal
FY 2008-09 Funding
2007-521-00Improving Fish Habitat Using Innovative Strategies to Remediate Contaminated Sediments in the Columbia River Basin$185,112
2007-524-00Integrated Non-Lethal Electric Barrier and Sonar System to Deter Marine Mammal Predation on Fish in the Columbia River System:  A Demonstration Project$1,440,483
2007-513-00Eelgrass enhancement and restoration in the Columbia River Estuary through innovative site selection and planting techniques$252,794
2007-516-00Enhancing Summer Instream Flow and Reducing Temperature in Agricultural Watersheds$224,766
2007-535-00Physical and Biological Field Testing of a Flow Velocity Enhancement System (FVES)$318,310

The funding reserved by Bonneville for Innovative projects is $2,000,000 total for FY 2008-09. This proposed action recommends funding for projects that total $2,421,465. The Committee recommends that $2,000,000 of the costs be funded from the Bonneville innovative placeholder and an additional $421,465 be funded from the “carry forward” for the Fish and Wildlife Program budget.

An agreement exists currently between the Council and Bonneville that allows for the amount of money that is under spent from the average spending target for the Program (currently $143 million) to be applied to the subsequent year’s spending target. This preserves the ability of the program to spend to an average of $143 million. The Program typically under spends the spending target each year, so it is anticipated that the under spent amount in FY 2007 will be applied to FY 2008 and similarly for FY 2009. This will provide additional funding that is not currently budgeted but that can be spent in FY 2008 and 2009. The Council recommends that the amount recommended in excess of $2 million ($421,465) be funded under this premise.

This solicitation for innovative project proposals is part of the ongoing effort by the Council and Bonneville to implement the Council’s Columbia River Basin Fish and Wildlife Program under the Northwest Power Act. The Council, in its project funding recommendations to Bonneville for Fiscal Years 2007-09, recommended that Bonneville reserve a portion of its available funds for an innovative project solicitation. The Council did so in large part in response to a recommendation from the Council’s Independent Scientific Review Panel (ISRP). The purpose of seeking out innovative projects is to improve knowledge, encourage creative thinking, and provide an opportunity for sponsors to submit proposals that focus on testing new methods and technologies designed to directly benefit fish and wildlife in the Columbia River Basin.

The ISRP reviewed the proposals and found that the five the Council recommends for funding substantially met the solicitation criteria: were innovative, were on-the-ground, described scientifically sound techniques, and offered potential benefits to fish and wildlife. The Council did not attach any implementation conditions to the proposals based on the ISRP review. See the ISRP report.

The Council remains concerned about the growing number of sea lions that prey on salmon, steelhead and sturgeon at Bonneville Dam, and recently expressed its support to members of Congress for an amendment to the Marine Mammal Protection Act that would establish an expedited process for lethal removal of predatory sea lions by states and tribes. Council support of innovative proposal 200752400 (Integrated Non-Lethal Electric Barrier and Sonar System to Deter Marine Mammal Predation on Fish in the Columbia River System: A Demonstration Project) does not diminish the need for an expedited takings process for predatory sea lions. The Council continues to believe that the option of lethal removal of sea lions is essential for protecting and rebuilding fishery resources in the Columbia River Basin.


Tony Grover
Director, Fish and Wildlife Division