Conservation Council Reviews Columbia Basin Fish & Wildlife - NBC Right Now/KNDO/KNDU Tri-Cities, Yakima, WA |

Power and Conservation Council Taking Opinions for Columbia River Fish & Wildlife

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KENNEWICK, Wash. - The Northwest Power and Conservation Council is taking public recommendations for the future of the Columbia River Basin Fish and Wildlife Program.

Not only is Columbia River Basin Fish and Wildlife the largest regional fish and wildlife program in the country, it paid nearly $250 million last year for habitat work, hatchery operations, hydropower system fish-passage improvements, research and activities.

The Bonneville Power Administration funds the program, which is designed to protect, mitigate, and enhance fish, wildlife, related spawning grounds and habitat affected by hydropower dams.

Once every five years, the council reviews the program, and bases future plans on recommendations of state and federal fish and wildlife agencies and members of the community.

Council members are accepting recommendations now through July 19. After that, they'll develop a draft program by mid-November, make it open for public comments through January of 2014, and then begin the new program in April.

Council members say they're interested in a regional conversation about the future direction and oversight of the program, and hope to answer the following questions:

· What should be the focus of the program over the next decade?

· In what way should the Council exercise its responsibilities to maximize policy and program benefits and minimize process costs?

· In what way can the Council and the regional program be more effective, efficient and streamlined, and generate more value?

To submit your recommendations, head to the council's program-amendment webpage by clicking here.