Anadromous fish spend portions of their lives in both fresh and saltwater.
The salmon and steelhead in the Columbia River Basin are born in freshwater
rivers, lakes and streams. As juveniles they migrate to the ocean where they
spend most of their adult life before returning to the Columbia River and its
tributaries to reproduce (spawn).
The Federal Columbia River Power System (FCRPS)
consists of dams and other infrastructure
that provide the region with emissions-free hydroelectricity, flood control,
irrigation and many other benefits. These facilities can impact anadromous fish
migration. The FCRPS is managed in a way that meets multiple and sometimes competing
needs, including protection and mitigation of anadromous fish populations.
BPA is one of three agencies with responsibilities for the FCRPS, along with
the U.S. Bureau of Reclamation and the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers. These three
agencies together (FCRPS Action Agencies) provide protections for the 13 anadromous
fish (also known as evolutionarily significant units (ESUs) listed under the
Endangered Species Act (ESA). The FCRPS action agencies do this through the
FCRPS Biological Opinion by ensuring that listed species aren't put in jeopardy
(at risk of extinction) and that there is no adverse modification to their critical
habitat or unauthorized take of these fish. The 2008 FCRPS BiOp encompasses
a wide range of on-the-ground actions to help endangered salmon and steelhead.
Throughout the Columbia Basin, tribes, states, local watershed groups and many
others are working together to restore degraded habitat, open up passage for
fish and get more water into streams. Hatcheries are being improved and carefully
managed to help protect wild fish. Many of the projects in the
Columbia Basin Fish Accords
are also part of the BiOp implementation.
In addition, BPA is a member of the Federal Caucus,
a group of eight agencies operating in the Columbia River Basin
that have natural resource responsibilities related to ESA. There are 12 populations
of salmon and steelhead in the basin listed under the ESA as well as bull trout,
a resident fish. The Caucus agencies are committed to recovery of endangered
fish in the Columbia Basin to sustainable levels. To succeed, recovery requires
the support and involvement of local citizens, municipalities, private landowners,
and state, tribal and federal agencies. The goal of these efforts is for current
and future generations to be able to experience a Northwest with abundant fish
runs and a fish-friendly hydro system. Our way of life and our economy depend
upon the river and its fish.
For more information on the FCRPS action agencies and the Federal Caucus, visit
To learn more about specific anadromous resident fish projects, visit the Columbia
Basin Fish and Wildlife Program Web site at www.cbfish.org.
The site provides access to the current portfolio of projects designed to protect
and rebuild fish and wildlife populations affected by federal hydropower development
in the Columbia River Basin.