2017 Wildlife Project Review

Information packet: Background, schedule and instructions

The Council and Bonneville Power Administration (Bonneville) announce the start of the review process for ongoing wildlife projects under the Council’s Fish and Wildlife Program. This site contains the information you and your project team will need to participate in the review, as well as important dates, and contact information. This site will be updated periodically with new information.

The 2017 wildlife category review is for the 30 wildlife-related projects currently being implemented with Bonneville funding.

Deadline: Project review materials are due by close of business March 23, 2017

Jump to:

I. Background and Purpose

Under the Northwest Power Act (Power Act), the Council develops a program to “protect, mitigate and enhance” fish and wildlife affected by the hydroelectric facilities on the Columbia and its tributaries. The Power Act then calls on the Bonneville to use its funds and other authorities to protect, mitigate, and enhance the fish and wildlife “in a manner consistent with” the Council’s Fish and Wildlife Program.

Project review is a required and critical component to implementing Bonneville’s portion of the Council’s Fish and Wildlife Program. The Power Act directs the Council to make recommendations on projects proposed for funding by Bonneville to implement the Council’s Fish and Wildlife Program. In developing recommendations, the Council fully considers reviews and recommendations of the Independent Scientific Review Panel (ISRP). The ISRP evaluates projects as to whether the projects are based on sound scientific principles, benefit fish and wildlife, have clearly defined objectives and outcomes with provisions for monitoring and evaluation of results, and are consistent with the Program’s priorities. As part of this review, the ISRP considers projects’ prior year results and accomplishments. Project reviews increase Program accountability and transparency, improve project design and implementation, and facilitate information sharing and adaptive management.

The last wildlife project review process took place in 2009, with funding recommendations covering FY 2010-2014 for 34 projects. Past review processes have taken many forms. Because most wildlife projects are implemented over a long time period, many are part of long-term agreements, and all have been reviewed several times, the 2017 review will have a somewhat different focus than previous wildlife project reviews. The review will largely focus on evaluating results and adaptive management, management challenges, and maintenance. Rather than reviewing project proposals, the review will rely on project results summary, management plans and annual reports. In addition to the scientific evaluation, the review will start and end with a policy review with Council and Bonneville staff – on the front end to identify any notable issues or questions that we would like the sponsor to answer and on the back end to develop recommendations for the Council on implementation.

The review should enable the Council to make long-term (5-10 years) implementation recommendations to Bonneville. If necessary for policy considerations, periodic check-ins may occur during that time span. Once the review is complete, staff will submit to the Council a package of recommendations that includes out-year budgets.

In addition, this review will include identification and evaluation of programmatic policy issues that apply across projects. This programmatic discussion will consider ongoing issues raised in the 2009 Wildlife Review and in the 2014 Fish and Wildlife Program including the status of management plans, the prospects for a regional monitoring and evaluation approach (including species’ response to habitat), and operational loss assessments.

II. Review Steps and Schedule

1 Project review documents. Project sponsors finalize and submit all documents related to this review by March 23, 2017 (listed below). The Council will make all review materials available to the ISRP for review by March 24. March 23 and 24
2 Preliminary policy review. Council and Bonneville staff will conduct a policy review to identify any notable issues or questions that we would like the sponsor to answer as part of the review. March and April
3 Project presentations and wildlife issue symposium. Two days: presentations and one half day of focused topic discussions are scheduled. No site visits will be conducted. Sponsors are invited to participate in the project presentations to inform the ISRP, other sponsors, and representatives from Council and Bonneville about their work. Presentations will be in familiar format – 20 minute time slots (including time for questions) with PowerPoint presentations. Presentations should focus on results, accomplishments, adaptive management implications, and M&E. Contact Lynn Palensky for scheduling requests and suggestions for focused discussion topics. Presentations will be held at the Northwest Power and Conservation Council office in the large conference room. April 18-19
4 Preliminary ISRP review. The ISRP will complete a preliminary review report of projects and programmatic issues by May 10, 2017. The ISRP’s preliminary report will provide written recommendations and comments reflecting the consensus of the ISRP. For individual projects, the ISRP review will focus primarily on project performance. If the project summary does not contain sufficient information or if issues need to be clarified, the ISRP will request a response from the project sponsor. May 10
5 Project sponsor responses due. June 1
6 Final ISRP Report. The ISRP will review these responses and complete a final report by June 28, 2017. This report will include final recommendations on all projects and findings on programmatic issues related to the projects such as identification of issues that apply across many projects (e.g. challenges, management practices, and monitoring and evaluation). June 28
7

Council recommendation. Once the ISRP has completed their final report, Council staff will develop recommendations on projects and policy issues for a Fish and Wildlife Committee Recommendation. Then the Committee recommendation will go to the Council for recommendation to Bonneville. We anticipate that final recommendations will be made by August or September, 2017.

**The Council will be shifting the dates for Fish and Wildlife Committee and Council recommendations on the wildlife review to September/October. Council and Bonneville staff would like to discuss several key policy and programmatic issues with the Committee members in August to help inform our recommendation for September.

Aug/Sept

**Sept/Oct 

III. Review Materials

The materials to be used in the review by ISRP and staff are listed below. The first six bolded items are the responsibility of the project sponsor to update as needed and submit by March 23. Some documents may already be available and accessed at CBfish.org or in PISCES. Please ensure that they are the most current versions of the documents that you wish the ISRP to see.

By March 23, 2017, submit your summary, budget form and other materials, see #6 below) using the Box.com link which will be emailed to you individually in January.

  1. Wildlife Project Summary (see instructions)
  2. Management Plans (submit or ensure online availability and note status in summary)
  3. Project Annual Reports (please ensure all are available online)
  4. Project settlement agreements and project Memorandums of Agreement (ensure relevant ones are available online)
  5. Out-year budget (see form in instructions)
  6. Other materials that the sponsors feel are important such as maps, photos (before-and-after, remote sensing graphics), scientific papers produced from the project work, study designs, stewardship agreements
  7. 2014 Fish and Wildlife Program
  8. Past ISRP reviews of wildlife projects (ISRP 2009-17 and any follow-up reviews)
  9. Programmatic comments (from past reviews)
  10. ISAB and ISRP Critical Uncertainties Report (ISAB/ISRP 2016-1 Appendix D; wildlife section and individual projects notes, pages 358-374)

IV. The Council invites your comments by July 27, 2017

The Northwest Power and Conservation Council invites your comments through July 27, 2017, on the Independent Scientific Review Panel’s just released Final 2017 Wildlife Project Review, ISRP Report No. 2017-07. Please email or mail your comments to: Kendra Coles,or

Northwest Power & Conservation Council, 851 SW 6th Ave, Suite 1100, Portland, OR 97204.

 This review report provides the Independent Scientific Review Panel’s (ISRP) final comments and recommendations on 29 projects evaluated as part of the 2017 Wildlife Project Review. Six projects met scientific review criteria, 21 projects met criteria with some qualifications, and 2 projects did not meet criteria. This report also contains comments on issues that apply across projects and should inform the future direction of the Fish and Wildlife Program. These issues and the ISRP’s recommendations include: Adaptive Management; An Integrated and Resilient Program; Habitat Restoration and Maintenance, and Future Project Reviews (for wildlife and all projects).  Overall, after reviewing project documents and meeting with wildlife managers, the ISRP was impressed with the wildlife managers’ dedication and knowledge.

For more information on the 2017 Wildlife Program Review, including detail on the project proposals reviewed, see https://www.nwcouncil.org/fw/reviews/2017wildlife/. For further information please contact Lynn Palensky or 503-222-5161 or 800-452-5161.

Next Steps

 Section 4(h)(10)(D) of the Northwest Power Act guides the Council in recommending projects for funding by the Bonneville Power Administration to implement the Council’s Fish and Wildlife Program. Over the next few months, the Council will develop project recommendations that take into account 1) the project proposals; 2) the scientific review of the project proposals; 3) public comments on the ISRP report and on the underlying proposals; 4) administrative review by Council staff;  5) the requirements of Section 4(h)(10)(D) and other provisions in the Act, and 6) consistency with the Council’s Fish and Wildlife Program.  During the review the Council will also identify programmatic issues that are common to multiple projects.  The Council’s project recommendations will include a set of programmatic issues and recommended actions as well as recommendations for individual projects. The schedule for Council consideration is as follows:

  • July 11 - ISRP presentation to Council at the Vancouver, WA meeting
  • July 27 - Public comment period on the ISRP report closes
  • August 15-16 Fish and Wildlife Committee - Discuss key policy and programmatic issues with Committee members.
  • September 12-13 Council meeting (Portland) – Draft recommendations on projects and programmatic issues to the Council’s Fish and Wildlife Committee
  • October 10-11 Council meeting (Spokane) - Council recommendations on projects and programmatic issues to the Bonneville Power Administration

Thank you for you continued interest in the Council’s Fish and Wildlife Program.

Contacts 

Lynn Palensky, Council 503-222-5161
lpalensky@nwcouncil.org 
General process and review
Mark Fritsch, Council 503-222-5161
mfritsch@nwcouncil.org
Projects and review process
Erik Merrill, ISRP Coordinator 503-222-5161
emerrill@nwcouncil.org 
ISRP review materials and process
Eric Schrepel, Council 503-222-5161
eschrepel@nwcouncil.org
Technical/web questions