Pronghorn on the USFWS National Bison Range, near BPA-purchased lands on the Flathead Indian Reservation. Photo by Cecilia Brown, BPA
BPA recognized the need very early to protect the Columbia River’s rich natural resource bounty and balance its power marketing mission with fish and wildlife needs. In its first power rate schedules for industrial customers, BPA included provisions that made power available only to industries that did not imperil the anadromous fish runs or the purity of the Columbia River.
Trumpeter Swans at Ninepipe Wildlife Refuge, near BPA-purchased lands on the Flathead Indian Reservation. Photo by Cecilia Brown, BPA
By the late 1970s when Congress debated bills that eventually became the Northwest Power Act in 1980, BPA had spent over $200 million on fish and wildlife.
The Northwest Power Act gave BPA new duties—to protect, mitigate, and enhance fish and wildlife, and their habitats, affected by the development and operation of the FCRPS. Congress created the Northwest Power and Planning Council to develop a Fish and Wildlife Program to guide the mitigation. The Act stated the BPA would do this “in a manner consistent with” the Council’s program and the purposes of the Northwest Power Act.