At its April meeting, the Council began deliberations on the Draft 2014 Columbia River Basin Fish and Wildlife Program in preparation for releasing it for 60 days of public comment by the end of the month or in early May. The draft program was developed by the Council’s four-member Fish and Wildlife Committee in an effort that began last fall.
Under the Northwest Power Act, the Council revises the fish and wildlife program every five years, based on recommendations the Council receives from fish and wildlife agencies, Indian tribes, and others. Since 1982, the program has directed the investment of more than $3 billion of Bonneville Power Administration electricity revenues in the Columbia River Basin to improve fish passage at hydropower dams, acquire and improve fish and wildlife habitat, boost fish production using hatcheries, monitor and evaluate the success of these efforts, and improve scientific knowledge through research.
The Draft 2014 Fish and Wildlife Program represents a renewed commitment to adaptive management of fish and wildlife and meeting program objectives through improved monitoring, reporting, and evaluation. The draft program also addresses a number of evolving issues including toxic substances in the river, the potential for aquatic invasive species to take hold in the basin, salmon and steelhead passage into areas blocked by dams such as above Chief Joseph and Grand Coulee dams on the Columbia, and the future use of hatcheries.
The Council has scheduled the following meetings to discuss the draft program in preparation for releasing it for public comment. All will be open to the public by conference call and a web link.
- Wednesday April 30, 9am - 4pm
- Thursday May 1, 9am - 4pm
The dial-in number and web address for each meeting will be posted on the Council’s website. Public hearings on the draft program will be scheduled in the four Northwest states beginning in late May. Locations, places, and times will be announced on the Council’s website.