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Research Monitoring and Evaluation (RM&E)

An important element of the BPA Fish and Wildlife Program is identifying ways to improve conditions for fish and wildlife. Biological and ecosystem responses to projects are often small and difficult to detect when compared to the variability of natural systems. Research, Monitoring and Evaluation (RM&E) has several purposes: 1) tracking the implementation of actions relative to performance measures; 2) tracking the status and trends of priority focal species and their limiting factors in priority areas; 3) determining the effectiveness of projects; and 4) evaluation of critical uncertainties. This process is based on the "Regional Monitoring and Data Management Structure" developed by the Pacific Northwest Monitoring Partnership (PNAMP) to support information management with RM&E efforts.

The federal Action Agencies implement an extensive RM&E program through the Northwest Power and Conservation Council's Fish and Wildlife Program, the Corps of Engineers' Anadromous Fish Evaluation Program, and Bureau of Reclamation's technical assistance activities. This is coordinated with RM&E activities of other regional agencies. The Action Agencies work closely with the Pacific Northwest Aquatic Monitoring Partnership (PNAMP) - a forum for coordinating state, federal and tribal aquatic habitat and ESA-listed salmonid monitoring programs to collaboratively advance a regionally coordinated approach to fish and habitat monitoring, action effectiveness research and data management.

As a result of the need for coordinated RM&E, the region is working collaboratively toward common RM&E structure, vocabulary and strategies coordinated through regional RM&E and data management forums. These include PNAMP, Washington Forum on Monitoring and other collaboration efforts. Building on these commonalities, this Program lays out the following five fundamentals as the backbone of the Council's RM&E and data management plan.

  1. The Program's RM&E will be structured in a common regional framework to better communicate, plan and implement regional RM&E strategies. This structure tracks the 2008 NOAA Fisheries Biological Opinion for the FCRPS.
  2. Within this framework, RM&E will strategically target information needed to answer key management questions that are critical to effective Program planning, implementation and adaptive management. The Program defines strategic level management questions for individual RM&E strategies.
  3. The Program's RM&E will align with regional collaborative efforts for standard and compatible monitoring and data management approaches that support the Program.
  4. The Program will adopt strategies for fish population and habitat status and trend monitoring collaboratively developed with the region as part of a broader Pacific Northwest regional status monitoring effort that includes identification of appropriate levels of cost sharing. This monitoring information is a shared responsibility of other regional agencies and it is not the sole responsibility of BPA to fund.
  5. The Program will adopt a set of high-level indicators to better track and report on biological and programmatic level performance; and more clearly align the Program's evaluation and reporting requirements with similar efforts in the region.

Resource managers have collaboratively identified several strategies to provide information needed to address high level management questions. The strategies have been organized to be compatible with the structure of the 2008 FCRPS Biological Opinion and to create an ecosystem level approach to RM&E.

  1. Fish Population Status Monitoring
  2. Hydro RM&E
  3. Tributary Habitat RM&E
  4. Estuary and Ocean RM&E
  5. Harvest RM&E
  6. Hatchery RM&E
  7. Predation and Invasive Species Management RM&E
  8. Wildlife RM&E
  9. Coordination and Data Management
  10. Project Implementation and Compliance Monitoring

To learn more about specific habitat projects, visit the Columbia Basin Fish and Wildlife Program Web site at 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. To learn more about other BPA RM&E products, visit the Columbia Basin Federal Caucus Website or the PNAMP Web site.

For more information please visit

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 Page last reviewed on 6/5/2007 10:17:43 AM