Strategic Plan Will Protect Fish and Wildlife Investments Over Time

In revising the Columbia River Basin Fish and Wildlife Program in 2014, the Council committed to define and develop a long-term maintenance plan and process to ensure that past investments in projects that implement the program remain properly functioning and continue to benefit fish and wildlife in the basin. The plan also is intended to ensure that projects funded through the program continue to meet Bonneville Power Administration mitigation requirements (See Appendix P of the program, Maintenance of Fish and Wildlife Program Investments, here.).

Since last fall when the Council adopted the revised program, the Council’s Fish and Wildlife Committee and Council staff have been developing a strategic plan for operation and maintenance of projects in the program.

According to a staff report and committee discussion at the April 7-8, 2015 Council meeting in Helena, Montana, the plan will have four categories: 1) maintenance of fish screens and diversions; 2) maintenance of hatcheries, fishways, and fish traps; 3) protection of high-priority habitats; and 4) the ongoing work of the Budget Oversight Group, which addresses miscellaneous funding requests, such as after project infrastructure is damaged or when there are special needs. The strategic plan also will include an asset management program for long-term maintenance, rehabilitation, and replacement of project investments.

Current ongoing work to develop the strategic plan includes completing inventories of fish screens, existing hatcheries, and lands. These should be completed by July.

The final plan, expected late this year, will be informed by recommendations from the Council’s Independent Economic Advisory Board on approaches to improving planning for long-term costs of fish and wildlife projects. The IEAB began working on its report in January. A work group assisting the Council includes representatives of Bonneville and the Corps of Engineers; fish and wildlife agencies and tribes with expertise in fish screens, fishways, traps, hatcheries, lands, and habitat actions; the Council’s Wildlife Advisory Committee; and the multi-party Fish Screening Oversight Committee.

When completed, the draft plan will be presented to the Council for review and recommendation to Bonneville and the Corps of Engineers.