In its role under the Northwest Power Act, the Northwest Power and Conservation Council develops a program with the objectives to protect, mitigate, and enhance fish and wildlife, including related spawning grounds and habitat, on the Columbia River and its tributaries. This program guides BPA’s implementation of fish and wildlife mitigation projects. To implement the program, BPA collaborates with tribal, state, and federal entities.. The Fish and Wildlife Program also implements offsite mitigation actions listed in various Biological Opinions for ESA-listed species.
Note that BPA’s mitigation requirements are different from recovery. Recovery of a species is a regional goal that will require a regional, coordinated, effort with consideration of all impacts to a species, such climate change, human population growth, urbanization, development of cities and other land uses, water diversions for all purposes, dams, mining, farming, ranching, logging, predation, ocean conditions, loss of habitat, and other impacts.
The BPA F&W Program improves habitat, builds hatcheries and boosts hatchery fish production, evaluates the results of these efforts, and improves scientific knowledge through research.
BPA works with states, tribes, and watershed groups to protect, mitigate, and enhance spawning and rearing habitat, targeting factors that limit fish survival throughout the Columbia River Basin. BPA has funded hundreds of projects across the basin to restore natural stream channels, reconnect estuarine tidal channels, enhance flow volume and timing, expand cold water refuges and open access to habitat (www.cbfish.org ). These habitat improvement actions provide both near-term and long-term benefits to anadromous and resident species, including bull trout and westslope cutthroat trout, including those that will help address the effects of climate change. Actions that improve connectivity and stream flow will provide a buffer against the effects of climate change. In addition to habitat improvement actions, BPA works with willing landowners to protect land by putting it under permanent conservation easement to further support habitat and fish conservation in the short and long term.
BPA constructed and now funds the operation and maintenance of over 20 compensation, conservation, and supplementation hatchery programs throughout the Columbia and Snake River basins to preserve, rebuild, and reduce extinction risk for ESA-listed fish species as well as to meet Northwest Power Act objectives to protect, mitigate, and enhance fish and wildlife affected by the FCRPS. The conservation hatchery programs help rebuild and enhance the naturally reproducing ESA-listed fish in their native habitats using locally adapted broodstock, while maintaining genetic and ecologic integrity, and supporting harvest where and when consistent with conservation objectives. These hatchery programs include captive propagation for critically endangered Snake River sockeye, Snake River spring/summer Chinook supplementation, Snake River fall Chinook supplementation, reintroduction of spring Chinook in the Okanagan Basin, coho reintroduction and supplementation in the Mid and Upper Columbia basins, reconditioning of Mid and Upper Columbia and Snake River steelhead kelts, Kootenai River white sturgeon, burbot and westslope cutthroat trout.
Research, Monitoring and Evaluation
We rely on the development and application of the best available science and data to inform decision-making and evaluate program performance. We are committed to strong research, monitoring and evaluation, which helps us focus our efforts on what works and make course corrections as we learn.
We manage the total cost of the Fish and Wildlife Program with the recognition that funding sources are limited, and prioritize our investments on actions that enable us to meet our mission.