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NW Fishletter #368, April 3, 2017

[7] NW Power Council Cost Savings For 2016 Is $652,000

The Northwest Power and Conservation Council's Cost Savings Workgroup identified $651,915 in fish and wildlife savings in 2016.

The savings came from BPA-administered projects that were either closing out or reducing spending in fiscal year 2016.

The 2014 Columbia Basin Fish and Wildlife Program recommended BPA fund new fish and wildlife obligations from savings identified in the current program.

Most new fish and wildlife actions needed in the basin are outlined in the program's emerging priorities.

To date, the Council has reallocated cost savings to fund these FY 2017 emerging-priority projects: a habitat assessment above Chief Joseph Dam ($100,000), northern pike suppression in Lake Roosevelt ($40,000), and infrastructure and operation-critical work at BPA-funded hatcheries ($200,00).

With these projects funded, the balance left for FY 2017 is $300,000. At the Council's March 14 meeting, the workgroup recommended spending up to $300,000 of the savings on sturgeon projects.

Measures to improve sturgeon populations in reservoirs upstream of Bonneville Dam are also part of the program's emerging-priority strategy.

The Council received preliminary proposals for seven sturgeon projects earlier this year and forwarded them to the Independent Scientific Review Panel for an initial review, which was completed March 7.

This year thus far, Council and BPA staffs have found potential savings of just over $400,000. If the funds are approved for reallocation, they would not be made available until FY 2018.

The cost-savings group is recommending phasing out a study of stray hatchery steelhead and their reproductive influence on Deschutes River steelhead. An unexpected decline in hatchery strays entering the Deschutes River has muted the study's significance. The savings over three years would be about $330,000.

Another $78,000 could be set aside from a spring Chinook captive brood program that is "ramping down," a staff report said.

The cost savings workgroup includes Montana Council Member Jennifer Anders, BPA Fish and Wildlife Program Manager Bryan Mercier, and Council Fish and Wildlife Division Director Tony Grover. -Laura Berg

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