The Lower Snake River Compensation Plan (LSRCP) is a complex program to compensate for losses of fish in the Columbia and Snake Rivers due to construction and operation of the hydroelectric system. The LSRCP oversees operation and maintenance expenses for ten hatcheries and sixteen satellite facilities. The projects include adult trapping and juvenile acclimation and release facilities on/or for the lower Snake, Salmon, Clearwater, Walla Walla, Grande Ronde, Imnaha, Tucannon, Touchet, and Walla Walla subbasins. The program was initiated in response to the Water Resources Development Act of 1976, Public Law (P.L.) 94-587, which Congress adopted to mitigate and compensate for fish and wildlife resource losses caused by the construction and operation of the four federal dams in the lower Snake River -- Ice Harbor (1961), Lower Monumental (1969), Little Goose (1970), and Lower Granite (1975) dams. The fisheries mitigation provisions of the act have evolved into a highly complex program involving several co-managers.
In 1998, the U.S. Congress’ Senate-House conference report on the fiscal year 1999 Energy and Water Development Appropriations bill directed the ISRP to annually review all fish and wildlife projects, programs, or measures included in federal agency budgets that are reimbursed by Bonneville. The LSRCP is a major component of this portion of Bonneville’s program and, thus, is subject to review by the ISRP to determine whether LSRCP proposals are consistent with the criteria specified for direct program projects in the 1996 amendment.
In April 1999, the ISRP completed its first “Reimbursable” review, which was limited to a description of the program elements and recommendations to reschedule and improve the review for the next year (see ISRP 99-1). This review responds to many of the recommendations raised by the ISRP in its first report. For example, the LSRCP submitted proposal forms consistent with those submitted for Fish and Wildlife Program solicitations, the ISRP review criteria is the same as used for the provincial review, and the review was staggered and incorporated with the provincial reviews. In addition, the LSRCP proponents participated in the provincial review workshop, attending the site visits and providing presentations. This was a good step in presenting at least a subset of the multitude of salmon recovery effort in one venue for the benefit of the reviewers and the project sponsors.
In the spring of 2001,six LSRCP proposals were submitted for review in the Columbia Plateau Provincial Review. These Washington Department of Fish and Wildlife (WDFW) proposals covered LSRCP activities in the Tucannon and Walla Walla subbasins and at Lyons Ferry Hatchery. The ISRP released a preliminary review of those projects on July 13, 2001. The ISRP’s preliminary recommendation on the proposals was “fundable if additional information is provided that adequately addresses the ISRP’s comments.” The LSRCP provided responses to the ISRP concerns. The ISRP’s comments on those responses are provided below. In its December 21, 2001 report, the ISRP deferred its final recommendation on the Columbia Plateau Province proposals until completion of the entire LSRCP review contained in this report.
In July of 2001, 20 more LSRCP proposals were submitted for review in the Blue Mountain and Mountain Snake provincial reviews. Due to time constraints and the complexity of the program, the ISRP was unable to review the LSRCP proposals on the same schedule as other proposals in those provinces; consequently, the ISRP’s preliminary review was submitted in December 2001 at the same time as the final Blue Mountain and Mountain Snake report (ISRP 2001-12A, December 21, 2001). This report completes the ISRP review of LSRCP proposals submitted for review in 2001.