BPA’s fish and wildlife program is paid for through the electric rates of utilities that buy power from BPA. It is not funded by U.S. taxpayers. 

BPA’s funding for fish and wildlife has five main components: 

Expense or direct program

BPA funds hundreds of fish and wildlife projects in the Columbia Basin, including habitat restoration, hatcheries, land acquisitions, predator control and research and evaluation.


BPA reimburses the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers and the Bureau of Reclamation for a portion of the costs to operate and maintain the fish passage improvements at the dams and for O&M costs for certain hatcheries operated by the Corps, Reclamation and the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service.

Capital repayment

BPA reimburses the U.S. Treasury for the principal and interest for constructing capital projects of other federal agencies as well as its own capital investments, such as federally owned hatcheries and fish passage improvements at the dams. „ POWER PURCHASES Fish operations — such as spilling water over dams rather than passing it through turbines — can limit the amount of electricity generated at the dams. If fish operations cause BPA to purchase power to meet its load obligations, the cost of purchased power is identified as a fish cost.

Lost opportunity costs

The value of energy that could have been generated if water had passed through turbines represents lost opportunity costs. These costs vary depending on power market prices and water volume.

In addition to the ratepayer dollars that BPA invests in fish and wildlife, a number of other federal agencies are actively involved in Columbia River Basin fish and wildlife restoration. These agencies, collectively known as the Columbia Basin Federal Caucus, include the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers and the Bureau of Reclamation that own and operate the federal dams, the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service, the U.S. Forest Service, NOAA Fisheries, the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency, and others.