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Kalispel Tribe joins federal agencies to protect bull trout and other species
7/12/2012 12:00 AM
Bull Trout photo courtesy of Dave Bickford, USDA Forest Service
The Kalispel Tribe of Indians is joining the growing ranks of Northwest states and tribes that are working in partnership with the Bonneville Power Administration, the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers and the U.S. Bureau of Reclamation in an unprecedented set of agreements designed to improve habitat and strengthen fish stocks in the upper Columbia River Basin over the next 10 years.
The new agreement focuses on actions to address impacts of Albeni Falls Dam on fish and wildlife in the area of Lake Pend Oreille and the Tribe's Reservation along the Pend Oreille River about 55 miles north of Spokane, Wash. The agreement recognizes the Tribe's resource management expertise and its interest in operations at Albeni Falls Dam and includes specific provisions for the Tribe to participate in decisions that affect fish, wildlife and water quality.
"The Kalispel Tribe is excited to see this agreement come to fruition as a result of nearly two decades of positive working relationships and on-the-ground successes. We believe this is just the beginning of a strong partnership with the federal agencies and we are hopeful for the future of our important and treasured resources," said Glen Nenema, Kalispel Tribal Chairman.
The agreement makes available approximately $39.5 million over 10 years, including $2.5 million for land acquisitions for wildlife habitat. The Tribe has identified habitat projects to benefit Endangered Species Act listed bull trout as well as west slope cutthroat trout and mountain whitefish. In addition, the new agreement provides for the Tribe, Corps and BPA to work together on improving water management actions in late summer and early fall to improve downstream water temperature for bull trout and other aquatic species.
"This agreement shows our collective resolve to work together to protect the fish and wildlife resources at Albeni Falls Dam," said Dave Ponganis, regional director of programs for the Corps' Northwest Division office.
The agreement is similar to the 10-year Columbia Basin Fish Accords signed in May 2008 by the Corps, BPA, Reclamation, the Confederated Tribes and Bands of the Yakama Nation, the Confederated Tribes of the Umatilla Indian Reservation, the Confederated Tribes of the Warm Spring Reservation and the Columbia River Inter-Tribal Fish Commission. Separate agreements were signed with the Confederated Tribes of the Colville Indian Reservation, the State of Idaho, the State of Montana and the Shoshone-Bannock Tribe. The State of Washington signed an agreement with the federal agencies in 2009 for work in the Columbia River estuary.
The Accords include a slate of actions in habitat, hatchery and research, monitoring and evaluation that will improve the prospects for recovery of listed salmon, bull trout and steelhead. They are the result of a multi-year collaboration and reflect a new era of partnership among States and tribes and the federal agencies to protect Columbia River Basin fish.
"BPA is pleased to add the Kalispel Tribe to the growing list of tribes and states that are working together as partners to provide on-the-ground benefits for fish and wildlife," said Lorri Bodi, vice president for BPA Environment, Fish and Wildlife. Today there is widespread agreement that this comprehensive approach is the best plan for fish."
The Kalispel Indian Reservation is located approximately 55 miles north of Spokane in Pend Oreille County. Portions of the Pend Oreille River and its tributaries lie within the boundaries of the Reservation as established by an executive order in 1914. The development of the federal dams on the Columbia River has had significant, long-term adverse effects of the culture, natural resources and economy of the Kalispel Tribe.
The FCRPS includes dams owned and operated by the Corps and Reclamation. BPA markets and distributes the electricity produced at these dams throughout the Northwest.
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