Twenty-three locally developed plans that will guide efforts to mitigate the impacts of hydropower dams on fish and wildlife in Columbia River tributaries and parts of the mainstem river were adopted today by the Northwest Power and Conservation Council. The plans are now part of the Council's Columbia River Basin Fish and Wildlife Program, which directs the expenditure of about $140 million annually. The money is provided by the Bonneville Power Administration from its income from the sale of electricity.
The 23 plans are among 59 that were submitted to the Council last May following nearly two years of work by watershed councils, local governments, and state, federal and tribal agencies. The plans respond to direction in the Council's fish and wildlife program that successful mitigation of the impacts of hydropower on fish and wildlife will be accomplished through the selection and implementation of subbasin-level goals, objectives and strategies. Each subbasin plan has an assessment that describes historical and existing conditions, an inventory of existing fish and wildlife projects and past accomplishments, and a management plan that looks 10-15 years into the future.
In addition to guiding implementation of the fish and wildlife program, subbasin plans may be used by NOAA Fisheries and the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service as a component of Endangered Species Act recovery planning. State and federal agencies may use the plans to reconcile hatchery and harvest goals and to complete an integrated monitoring and evaluation framework for fish and wildlife projects and research.
The Council's approval follows a 40-day public review and comment period that concluded on November 22, 2004. Later this month, the Council will meet in a special session to release for public comment 23 more draft subbasin plans. Comments will be accepted through January, and the Council plans to make a decision to adopt them into the program in February.
The 23 plans adopted today address the following subbasins and portions of the mainstem Columbia:
- In Washington: Asotin, Lake Chelan, Lake Rufus Woods, Sanpoil, Spokane, Tucannon, Upper Mid-Columbia Mainstem, Upper Columbia Mainstem, White Salmon
- In Idaho: Bruneau, Coeur d'Alene, Salmon
- In Idaho and Washington: Pend Oreille
- In Idaho and Oregon: Lower Snake, Owyhee
- In Montana: Flathead
- In Montana and Idaho: Kootenai
- In Oregon: Fifteenmile Creek, Hood, Malheur, Umatilla, Willamette
- In Oregon and Washington: Columbia Gorge
Additional information regarding these and other subbasin plans is posted on the Council's subbasin planning website.
The Council is an agency of the states of Idaho, Montana, Oregon and Washington and is directed by the Northwest Power Act of 1980 to prepare a program to protect, mitigate and enhance fish and wildlife of the Columbia River Basin affected by hydropower dams while also assuring the region an adequate, efficient, economical and reliable power supply.