The Columbia River is a tremendous resource for the region. Important fish species such as salmon, steelhead and sturgeon make it their home. The river provides a vital transportation corridor for ships that carry cargo to and from inland ports. Irrigators draw its water to turn former desert into fertile croplands. And it’s a world-class recreational area enjoyed by residents and visitors alike.
These many uses can compete, which makes coordination of river operations an important role for BPA and its fellow federal agencies – the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers and the Bureau of Reclamation. Together, these agencies operate the Federal Columbia River Power System. Through a series of laws and agreements among many parties in the United States and with Canada (where the Columbia River originates), the river is operated as though run by a single entity. This ensures it is managed at maximum efficiency with minimum environmental impacts.