Issue 302�������������������������������������������������������������������������������������������������� May 6, 2008


In this issue:
PNWA supports new salmon BiOp, released May 5, 2008
PNWA submits WRDA requests to Northwest House delegation

Register Today for the 2008 PNWA Mid-Year Meeting

 

 

 

PNWA supports new salmon BiOp, released May 5, 2008


NOAA Fisheries released a new salmon Biological Opinion (BiOp) May 5th. This BiOp was produced under the direct supervision of U.S. District Court Judge James Redden and in collaboration with the region�s Tribes and the states of Washington, Oregon, Montana and Idaho.

PNWA supports the new BiOp. The region has focused on river operations for more than 20 years and the new BiOp and Memoranda of Agreement (MOAs) add much needed attention to habitat and hatcheries as contributors to recovery.This BiOp is a product of regional collaboration and we urge the region and, ultimately, the court to embrace it. It is time to end the debate and get to work on fish recovery.

PNWA believes the new BiOp meets ESA requirements in three ways:

1) The new BiOp provides more funding to rebuild fish runs. Hundreds of millions of dollars in new programs and projects will complement the ongoing investment in existing programs that have already demonstrated significant survival benefits.

2) The new BiOp provides more certainty for the needed funding. Congress is an important funding source, but additional funds from regional ratepayers provided through BPA will ensure that the money will be there when it is needed for river operations and on-the-ground projects.

3) The new BiOp strengthens collaboration between the federal agencies, states and tribes. That will lead to new partnerships, more cooperation and, ultimately, more success in reaching fish recovery goals.

Federal agencies and Tribes agree on program funding

Four Columbia River Basin Tribes and three federal agencies reached ten-year agreements on operations to meet ESA, treaty and Northwest Power Act requirements for Columbia and Snake River fish. The projects that are in the signed MOAs are included in the new BiOp.

Among the many provisions in the MOAs, the agencies and Tribes agreed to four provisions of significant interest to the PNWA membership:

1)�� The parties will meet to discuss the benefits or detriments of operating John Day at Minimum Operating Pool. They agree that operating John Day at MOP is a contingency action rather than a presumed path. It could only be considered after a comprehensive review scheduled for 2015.

2)�� The Tribes will not support any ESA, Power Act, Clean Water Act or Administrative Procedures Act lawsuits against the federal agencies regarding the FCRPS or Upper Snake BiOps;

3)�� The Tribes agree not to request additional fish or wildlife funding from BPA during the term of the MOAs; and

4)�� The Tribes agree that dam breaching will not occur during the term of the MOAs, nor will they advocate for breaching Columbia or Snake River dams. There is a provision that allows the Tribes to advocate for dam breaching after 2017 if the results of the 2015 performance review demonstrate that Snake River ESUs are not improving.

Prospect for future court action

Neither the original plaintiffs, led by National Wildlife Federation, nor the Nez Perce Tribe nor the State of Oregon are parties to the agreement. They are under no obligation not to file lawsuits challenging the BiOp.

For more background information regarding the new BiOp, go to http://pnwa.net/new/Energy_Salmon_Environment.aspx.To view the new BiOp documents in full, visit http://www.nwr.noaa.gov/Salmon-Hydropower/Columbia-Snake-Basin/Final-BOs.cfm.

 

Staff Contact: Glenn Vanselow

 

PNWA submits WRDA requests to Northwest House delegation


Recently, the House Transportation & Infrastructure Committee solicited projects and language from House members for inclusion in a potential 2008 Water Resources Development Act (WRDA).Though a WRDA bill was successfully enacted last year, many projects were left out, as the 2007 bill was largely a copy of older bills.Congress would like to return to a more regular schedule of WRDA bills, which typically are biennial.WRDA 2007 was the first such bill since 2000.

 

PNWA has communicated our 2008 WRDA priorities with all sixteen Oregon, Washington and Idaho House members.Following are details regarding the language we have requested.

 

Permanence for Section 214 regulatory funding authority

 

�Section 214� was first authorized in WRDA 2000, and has been the subject of a great deal of PNWA and stakeholder efforts to avert sunset over the last few years.Section 214 allows the Corps of Engineers to accept and expend funds contributed by non-Federal public entities to expedite the processing of permits. Section 214 has allowed local governments to move forward with vital infrastructure and ecosystem restoration projects. Section 214 is currently being used by over 25 public agencies in 11 states. By funding additional staff to work on specific, time-intensive permits, existing Corps staffers are able to process the significant permit backlog more quickly. Funding for additional Corps staff has resulted in a reduction of permit wait times not only for the funding entity, but for any individual or organization that makes an application with that Corps District.

 

Section 214 is currently authorized through December 31, 2009. PNWA members strongly support the effort to make Section 214 permanent.To download PNWA�s fact sheet on Section 214, please visit www.pnwa.net.

 

Additional PNWA provisions

 

PNWA has also submitted requests regarding port-specific provisions.These include funding for shoreline stabilization and ecosystem restoration at Clover Island at the Port of Kennewick, and funding for a study of the Hood River sediment delta, and removal of deed and flowage easement restrictions at the Ports of Kennewick and Hood River.

 

PNWA will be working closely with our Northwest House and Senate delegation as consideration of WRDA continues this year.To view PNWA�s WRDA documents, please visit www.pnwa.net.

 

Staff Contact: Kristin Meira

 

Register Today for the 2008 PNWA Mid-Year Meeting


Join PNWA on the gorgeous Oregon Coast for this year�s Mid-Year Meeting, held at the Inn at Otter Crest just north of Newport, Oregon!Our 2008 program will focus on the nation�s uncertain economic times, upcoming election and constantly evolving navigation, energy, trade and environmental issues.You will also have the opportunity to meet with informative and enthusiastic speakers, regional industry leaders, and federal agency staff. This is also a wonderful opportunity to check in with PNWA staff and fellow members face to face, to discuss the issues that matter most to our region. Don�t miss your chance to participate - REGISTER TODAY!

 

2008 Mid-Year Meeting � June 18-20, 2008

The Inn at Otter Crest
301 Otter Crest Drive
Otter Rock, OR 97369
Reservations: 866-869-4291
www.innatottercrest.com

**Please note that the PNWA room block is filling up very quickly!Be sure to call today to reserve your room.If you have any questions regarding your reservation, please contact Heather Kenneson for additional information.**

 

Sponsorship Opportunities

Your sponsorship means a great deal to PNWA and is an integral part of our meeting success!The support you provide helps PNWA create interesting and innovative meeting programs for PNWA members, our partners and our fellow navigation interests from around the region.As a PNWA sponsor, you will be recognized during our breaks, lunches, reception, and throughout our meeting program.Don�t miss your chance to participate � the following sponsorship opportunities are still available:

 

Meeting Materials: $300

Break: $300

Breakfast: $400

Lunch: $500

 

PNWA Staff Contact: Heather Kenneson

 


Pacific Northwest Waterways Association                                          www.pnwa.net

 

 

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