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Wildlife Mitigation



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.




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