The Council recognizes that it is only one among many entities invested in mitigating, protecting and enhancing the basin’s species and habitat. The Council defines the program’s responsibility as consisting of mitigating, protecting and enhancing for the hydrosystem impacts described by the Northwest Power Act.
The Council approved during its October 2009 meeting three high-level indicators (HLI) that will be used to monitor the status and trend of the program’s focal species and the progress of the Council's fish and wildlife program. The Council chose to postpone its decision on the fourth HLI, ecosystem health, until it is defined more clearly. [see motion and presentation]. These HLI will be used to report to Congress and the Northwest's governors:
- Abundance of fish and wildlife
- Hydrosystem survival and passage; and
- Council actions.
During the October 2009 meeting, to guide the Council’s HLI and their supporting fish and wildlife program indicators (FWIs), the Council also approved these fish and wildlife program management questions as a working list that is refined as needed:
- Are Columbia River Basin fish and wildlife abundant, diverse, productive, spatially distributed, and sustainable?
- Are the actions implemented by the Council fish and wildlife program having the expected biological effect on fish and wildlife and their habitat?
- Are Columbia River Basin ecosystems healthy?
- Are ocean conditions affecting Columbia River Basin anadromous fish?
- Is climate change affecting fish and wildlife in the Columbia River Basin?
- Are operations of the Columbia River Basin's hydropower dams supporting fish-passage survival objectives?
- Is harvest consistent with the fish and wildlife program’s vision?
- Do hatcheries complement resident and anadromous recovery and harvest goals within the Columbia River Basin?
- Are the fish and wildlife losses associated with the development and operation of the Columbia River Basin’s hydrosystem being mitigated as described by the Council’s fish and wildlife program?
- What has been accomplished under the Council’s fish and wildlife program?
The HLI graphics are reported on the Council’s High-Level Indicator report and the supporting FWI graphics are reported on the Council’s subbasin dashboard. The development and refinement of the indicators, questions, and graphics are done in collaboration with fish and wildlife agencies and tribes. The information used to populate these indicator graphics is provided by program-funded projects as well as non-program-funded information gathered by fish and wildlife agencies and tribes. See the Table of Indicators on the Council’s website for the current list and reporting status of the Council’s questions, HLI, and supporting FWI.