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NW Fishletter #392, April 1, 2019

[11] Protest By Competing Contractor Delays Fish Count Reports

The web-posting of some data from adult fish counts at six dams on the Snake and Columbia rivers will be delayed for the next three months after a company that was under contract to conduct the counts formally protested the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers' award of its contract to a new company in November.

The Government Accountability Office (GAO) denied Normandeau Associates' protest on Feb. 6, and the Corps is now giving the new contractor until June to fully assume all requirements in the contract.

According to a Corps news release, the Wenatchee, Wash.-based Four Peaks Environmental Science & Data Solutions was scheduled to begin fish-counting duties at the Corps' four lower Snake River and four lower Columbia River dams on March 1, under a $2.6 million base-year contract, with options for the Corps to award up to five additional years. Due to the delay, the Corps hired experienced fish counters to work at Bonneville and Lower Granite dams--the two deemed most critical for fish managers--to count fish and post data within the usual timeframe on the Fish Passage Center's website. The information is typically posted within 24 hours.

Fish ladders at the other six dams--The Dalles, John Day, McNary, Ice Harbor, Lower Monumental and Little Goose--will be video recorded beginning April 1, with data to be reviewed and counted within three to five days if staff are available, the news release said.

"Because of the three-month delay created by the protest, it was not possible to have the new contractor performing the obligations of the contract by March 1," Corps fish biologist Chris Peery said in the release.

The GAO decision says that three companies submitted bids, and one of them was technically unacceptable. Four Peaks submitted the lowest acceptable bid, just over $11.1 million, compared with Normandeau's price of just under $13 million. Normandeau challenged Four Peaks' proposal, claiming that the company itself lacks the relevant experience, and that it was improper for the Corps to consider experience of the company's personnel. The GAO disagreed, noting the Corps' solicitation did not limit consideration of the company's personnel or subcontractors.

Adult fish counts are widely used by fishermen, fishery managers and others. -K.C. Mehaffey

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Publisher/Editor-in-Chief: Mark Ohrenschall, Editor: K.C. Mehaffey
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