BPA, Tribal Groups Reach Agreement on Fishby Staff
The Chronicle, May 7, 2008
A new agreement among four tribes and federal agencies was designed to deliver "specific, scientifically valid biological results for the region's fish," according to a Bonneville Power Administration announcement.
The agreement, named the Columbia Basin Fish Accords, are designed to supplement biological opinions for listed salmon and steelhead and the Northwest Power and Conservation Council's fish and wildlife program, according to BPA.
The agreement provides commitments to hydro, habitat and hatchery actions, greater clarity about biological benefits and funding for 10 years.
The signing culminates two years of negotiations, at the behest of U.S. District Court of Oregon Judge James Redden, among Indian tribes and the federal action agencies that have responsibilities for operating and maintaining the federal Columbia River Power System, according to BPA.
Tribes included in the agreement include the Colville Confederated Tribes, Confederated Tribes and Bands of the Yakama Nation, Umatilla Confederated Tribes and the Confederated Tribes of the Warm Springs Reservation of Oregon.
Columbia River Inter-Tribal Fish Commission also was involved in the agreement.
"Our people and the fish that are part of our lives come from the headwaters of the Columbia River Basin," said Mike Marchand, chairman of the Colville Business Council. "These accords will allow work to take place for the benefit of fish from the ocean up to the headwaters, addressing the whole salmon life cycle along the way.
"We think these accords are a turning point in the way people in the basin address fish recovery and we look forward to being an integrated part of this strong partnership. This finally brings funding for projects to the fish of the upper Columbia." he said. "In the past, all production measures were put out of reach of the Colville people. These accords bring fish back to the Colville people."
Tribes and federal agencies will move forward immediately with new projects and continue existing projects throughout the Columbia River Basin, according to BPA.
Under the agreements, the federal agencies and tribes will work together as partners "on the ground" to provide tangible survival benefits for salmon recovery by upgrading passage over federal dams, by restoring river and estuary habitat, and by creative use of hatcheries, according to BPA.
They also will advocate for the agreements in other regional forums.
More information is available online at www.critfc.org or www.salmonrecovery.gov.
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