BPA is responsible under the Northwest Power Act for mitigating the impacts to wildlife caused by the development
and operation of the dams of the Federal Columbia River Power System (FRCPS). For each
dam these impacts were quantified by an Impact Assessment using a Habitat Evaluation
Procedure (HEP) survey to determine the Habitat Units (HUs) lost due to the construction
and inundation behind the dams. See our Mitigation Program
Glossary for definitions of these and other terms by the program.
BPA accomplishes this mitigation by funding projects consistent with the fish
and wildlife program developed by the Northwest Power and Conservation Council
(Council) and responsive to the Council’s recommendations for projects.
Project proposals are submitted to the Council from Tribal governments, state
agencies, property owners, private conservation groups, and other Federal agencies.
BPA supports a wide range of actions to achieve wildlife mitigation consistent
with the Council's goals and priorities. BPA strongly emphasizes the achievement
of biological objectives in the least costly manner and encourages projects
with an ecosystem-based approach so both fish and wildlife are integrated simultaneously
with habitat protection and improvement projects.
Just as HEP surveys were used by Impact Assessments to determine Habitat Units (HUs)
lost, the Wildlife Mitigation program uses HEP surveys are to determine HUs gained by
mitigation activities such as protecting habitat through acquisitions/easements and
enhancing habitat through weed control, fencing, etc. Habitat Units are thus the "currency"
of the program's Wildlife Crediting "ledger" which
tracks debits (lost HUs) and credits (protected and enhanced HUs).
Impact Assessment and HEP report publications are available on our Search Publications page.
As with any other type of project, BPA assesses the potential environmental
impacts of its wildlife mitigation projects before work begins. In its Record
of Decision for the Fish & Wildlife Implementation Plan Environmental
Impact Statement (EIS), BPA decided to standardize the planning and implementation
process for wildlife projects, while achieving balance among all decision factors:
(1) meeting the biological objectives of wildlife mitigation projects, (2) achieving
cost and administrative efficiency, (3) complying with all applicable laws and
regulations, and (4) protecting and improving other environmental resources
when such actions would support wildlife mitigation. The Fish & Wildlife Implementation
Plan EIS covers wildlife mitigation actions with potential environmental impacts
such as land acquisition and management, water rights acquisition and management,
habitat restoration and improvement, weed control, riparian fencing, and similar
wildlife conservation actions.