A brief overview of recommendations to amend the fish and wildlife program

Here’s a quick overview of the more than 450 recommendations the Council received to amend the Columbia River Basin Fish and Wildlife Program, arranged under the ‘Four Hs” of impacts to fish and wildlife: hydropower, habitat, hatcheries, and harvest:


  • Continue to recognize the Federal Columbia River Power System Biological Opinions as the program’s baseline mainstem measures and objectives; others recommend disconnecting the program from the Biological Opinions and pursuing additional flow and passage actions
  • Adjust operations at Libby and Hungry Horse dams to improve conditions for sturgeon and other fish downriver and in reservoirs
  • Increase spill over dams when juvenile salmon and steelhead are migrating to the ocean as an experiment, if state dissolved-gas waivers can be revised
  • Evaluate removal of the four dams in the lower Snake River.

Habitat Protection and improvement

  • Incorporate the estuary, plume, and near-shore ocean more completely in planning
  • Identify and work to reduce toxic water contaminants
  • Prevent establishment of aquatic invasive species
  • Provide passage of anadromous fish into areas blocked by hydropower dams
  • Support existing protected areas and oppose reinstating exemptions (inadvertently dropped from the program in 2000); others recommend expanding protected-area designations to potential transmission corridors and potential wind and solar energy sites, and restoring exemptions

Hatcheries and Harvest

  • Both support for and opposition to incorporating the Columbia River Basin recommendations of the Hatchery Scientific Review Group into the program
  • Add biological objectives to the program for hatchery-specific fish production and adult-return goals, and harvest
  • Support supplementation hatcheries to rebuild naturally spawning populations
  • Support alternative commercial fisheries like the Select Area Fishery Enhancement project in the lower Columbia, which reduce fishing pressure on weak stocks by moving commercial fisheries out of the mainstem river
  • Support for status quo funding, or more, of marking fish with coded wire tags

The Council members and the Council’s Fish and Wildlife Division staff are working through the recommendations and preparing issue-specific summaries for review by the Council. The next step is to write a draft program for public review. Expect the draft program in mid February 2014 for review through mid-May.