BPA Raises Bounty
by Bill Monroe
The Bonneville Power Administration has upped the ante on its unique bounty system for northern pikeminnows in the Columbia River.
Beginning Monday, the reward for turning in pikeminnows went from $4, $5 and $6 each, depending upon how many have been caught, to $5 each for the first 100, $6 from 101 to 400 and $8 for every fish after the first 400.
Biologists also catch, tag and release hundreds of pikeminnows each spring, and a special bounty is paid for turning in tagged fish. That amount has been increased from $100 to $500.
Steve Wright, BPA administrator, said in a news release that the bounty will go up regardless of what happens on the agency's pending decision to either spill river water this summer to help salmon or force it through turbines to produce power.
If the water is used to sell power, salmon would die from not being spilled safely away from the reach of the turbine. BPA wants to compensate by saving others from predators instead.
The increased bounty, Wright said, "would offset the effects of reducing spill if we elect to do so."
The increase is expected to add about $600,000 to the annual $1 million paid to anglers and will bring the bounty program's cost to about $3.4 million this year.
Pikeminnows are natural enemies of baby salmon that have flourished in the Columbia River's system of reservoirs, created by dams that kill and injure passing salmon.
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