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Standard Planning Process and Prescriptions

The Standard Planning Process and Prescriptions employed for wildlife mitigation are identified in the Wildlife Mitigation Program Final Environmental Impact Statement (FEIS). This includes the following steps:

  1. Define the Area of Concern/Interest: In the first step, project managers delineate the project boundaries and project issues, focusing primarily on the Council?s priority habitat types and species. Public lands will be favored as mitigation sites so as to minimize potential economic effects. Project managers will also seek to establish projects that could take advantage of existing land management systems or that could eliminate existing management inefficiencies. Specifically, project managers will carry out the following:

    • Coordinate with water resource agencies to verify viability of new water sources and uses and to design and implement features necessary to protect aquatic systems and other water users.
    • Make preliminary identification of the presence or absence of threatened or endangered species, as listed or proposed for listing under the Endangered Species Act (ESA), and their habitat within the area that may be affected by the project.
    • Identify any minority and/or low-income populations that may be adversely affected by the mitigation project being considered.
    • For project involving property acquisition, make preliminary identification of the presence of historic and archeological resources.
    • For project involving property acquisition, make preliminary identification of the presence of hazardous and toxic wastes, using the American Society for Testing and Materials (ASTM) Standards on Environmental Site Assessments for Commercial Real Estate (E 1527-94 and E 1528-93).
    • Select boundaries, focusing on habitat type and species priorities and accompanying elements that the Council has identified in its Fish and Wildlife Program.
    • When identifying potential mitigation site, examine public lands first to determine opportunities for adjustments, land exchanges, and reciprocal management agreements that eliminate management inefficiencies and inconsistencies.
    • Consider long-term lease or easement acquisition where public lands are not available.
    • If possible, establish partnership for achieving project objectives, including agreements with non-electric power development mitigation programs, to ensure coordinated and expeditious program Address concerns over additions to public land ownership and impacts on local communities, such as reduction or loss of local government tax or economic base, or consistency with local governments? comprehensive plans.

  2. Involve Stakeholders: In the second step, managers gather input from affected groups and persons. This step is similar to the project scoping and public involvement that occurs in a National Environmental Policy Act (NEPA) analysis, and may be part of a NEPA process tiered to the Wildlife Mitigation Program EIS. Interested parties may include landowners or other individuals; interest groups; tribes; and city, county, state, regional, or Federal agencies. Project managers will actively seek public input and will plan cooperatively with government agencies or other entities to maximize planning and management efficiencies. Specifically, project managers will carry out the following:

    • Consult with affected tribes, state fish and wildlife agencies, cities, local governments, and adjacent landowners.
    • Develop an effective public involvement program that includes a variety of ways to solicit public input, including mailings, public notices and public meetings and workshops both early in and throughout the planning process, and by notification in the local paper of record and in BPA?s monthly newsletter: consider alternative means of eliciting public input, such as postings on the Internet and radio advertisements.
    • Wherever possible, form partnerships with government agencies or other entities so as to reduce costs, increase benefits and/or eliminate duplicate activities.

  3. Develop a Statement of the Desired Future Condition: Under the standard planning process, project managers develop a statement that expresses a clear conceptual picture of the ideal long-term state towards which efforts are directed. BPA will support concepts that keep long-term management costs low, while ensuring coordination with watershed-level planning efforts. Specifically, project managers will carry out the following:

    • Identify a desired future condition for wildlife habitat that responds specifically to achievement of biological objectives.
    • Facilitate the development of a statement of desired future condition, in cooperation with watershed activities.
    • Identify a desired future condition that is self-sustaining (low-maintenance).

  4. Characterize the Historical and Present Site Conditions and Trends: Project managers identify current and past conditions of the project area in terms of composition, structure, function, stresses, and other variables. BPA supports the collection of the information necessary to achieve wildlife mitigation and to monitor results. Specifically, project managers will carry out the following:

    • Contact the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service (USFWS) and National Marine Fisheries Service (NMFS) to determine whether threatened or endangered species are known to occur or potentially occur in the vicinity of the project area.
    • Consult with the State Historic Preservation Office (SHPO) and affected tribes to identify potential occurrences of cultural resources.
    • Survey for threatened or endangered plant or animal species before disturbing land or conducting other activities that may affect such species if the USFWS and/or NMFS identify these species as potentially occurring in the vicinity of the project area.
    • Establish baseline information for habitat and species against which change can be measured (related to the "measurable biological objective" standard included in step 5).

  5. Establish Project Goals: In step 5, project managers establish mitigation goals for each project, including those goals established by the Council. Project managers identify the specific targets (in terms of conditions, outputs, features, or functions) against which progress and success will be measured. Specifically, project managers will carry out the following:

    • Establish measurable biological objects (e.g., number of habitat units, acres and/or habitat types, list of indicator species).
    • Include, as a project goal:
      • Protection of high-quality or other habitat or species of special concern (whether at or adjacent to the project site), including endangered, threatened, or sensitive species;
      • Development of riparian or other habitat that can benefit both fish and wildlife;
      • Mitigation of habitat losses in-place, in kind, wherever possible;
      • Protection or improvement of natural ecosystems and species diversity over the long term;
      • Development of habitat that complements the activities of the region?s tribes, state and Federal wildlife agencies, and private landowners; and
      • Achievement of a future condition that is self-sustaining after initial improvements have been completed.

    • For forest lands, consider the recommended goals outlined in the 1995 Federal Wildland Fire Management Policy and Program Review. (The report recommends that agencies develop a plan-by-plan strategy to introduce landscape-scale prescribed burns across agency boundaries. The report also directs agencies to seek opportunities to enter into partnerships with Tribal, state, and private land managers to achieve this objective.)
    • Allow, as a project goal, sustainable revenue generation (e.g., user fees, crop production, timber harvest) to reduce initial or long-term Federal costs only if consistent with biological objectives.

  6. Develop and Implement an Action Plan for Achieving the Goals: Project managers create a Project Management Plan that details the actions to be taken to achieve project goals, including thespecific techniques, standards, and guidelines to be implemented and protocols for coordination with others. NPA will consider support of a wide range of management techniques and other actions to achieve wildlife mitigation. Specifically, project managers will carry out the following:

    • Take no action inconsistent with Tribal legal rights, or with other legally mandated protections such as those under the ESA.
    • Address any disproportionately high and adverse human health or environmental effects on minority or low-income populations, in accordance with Executive Order 12898 (Environmental Justice).
    • Follow State and Federal regulations for all activities in or near wetlands, whether for maintenance of improvement, including (1) the Clean Water Act, Section 404; (2) Protection of Wetlands, Executive Order 11990; and 3) Floodplain Management, Executive Order 11988.
    • Construct wildlife developments in consultation with water resource management agencies and state and Tribal fish and wildlife agencies. Obtain required permits.
    • Avoid activities that might adversely affect threatened and endangered species or their habitat. Document compliance with Section 7 of the ESA.
    • Use only EPA-approved pesticides, and use only in the manner specified by EPA.
    • For projects involving use of herbicides, prevent use of herbicides in or near surface water, unless the herbicide has been EPA-approved for such use.
    • Screen structures from sensitive viewing locations or develop designs that blend into the landscape in areas managed as National Scenic Areas.
    • For projects involving prescribed burns, obtain required permits and use state-defined smoke management direction to determine allowable smoke quantities.
    • If consultation with the SHPO and tribes indicates a potential for cultural resources, conduct cultural resource surveys to document any resources that are present.
    • For projects involving property acquisition (including leases) and ground-disturbing activity, and where properties on or potentially eligible for the National Register of Historic Places (National Register) are known to exist on the property, incorporate a cultural resource management plan or other SHPO-approved actions.
    • Ensure that barriers are not created that unduly restrict access for physically disabled persons where public access is allowed.
    • Specify that any new public-use facilities are free of barriers to persons with physical disabilities.
    • Consider the full range of management techniques available, and use the method that best achieves the biological objective in a cost-effective manner, as determined on a case-by-case basis.
    • Apply the potential program-wide mitigation measures listed on pages 8 through 17 of this Record of Decision, as appropriate to protect the environment.
    • Favor natural regeneration over active restoration where the same biological objectives can be achieved in a reasonably amount of time.
    • Consider passive or active recreation, providing it does not interfere with achieving wildlife mitigation.
    • For forest lands, enter a collective management agreement with Federal and state landowners to implement actions outlined in the 1995 Wildland Fire Management Policy and Program Review.
    • Dedicate to the project any site-specific user fees or revenue gained from commerce that result from the exclusive use of the property. (Revenues generated from hunting licenses or other wildlife recreation-related fees that cannot be directly linked to wildlife mitigation activities or that are identified in site-specific management plans will be excluded.)
    • Favor wildlife management activities that have side benefits for fish, e.g., riparian habitat restoration.
    • Encourage the use of available local supplies and labor to accomplish project goals and objectives.
    • Identify opportunities for work skill training in conjunction with wildlife mitigation activities. For example, encourage construction contractors to use the local employment security office to hire staff for positions that involve on-the-job training. For projects involving vegetation control, develop specific protocols for use of herbicides, mechanical, and biological methods, in cooperation with local week control boards. Protocols could be adapted from the U.S. Forest Service (USFS) 1988 Final EIS for Managing Competing and Unwanted Vegetation. For projects involving vegetation control, conduct weed control programs using joint multi-agency planning.
    • Control nuisance animals or unwanted or competing plant species where they are hindering establishment of vegetation.
    • Use predator control only when needed to increase rare species or to establish new populations of species susceptible to predators.
    • Consider recreational opportunities suitable for physically disabled persons where existing access allows.

  7. Monitor Conditions and Evaluate Results: Once a Project Management Plan is being implemented, project managers start a program to (1) monitor implementation of relevant standards and guidelines; (2) verify achievement of desired results; and (3) determine soundness of underlying assumptions. BPA will encourage and support decision-oriented monitoring that can be used to evaluate the success of mitigation efforts and to make necessary adjustments to better achieve objectives. Specifically, project managers will carry out the following:

    • Monitor specific performance standards for status and trend of progress toward biological objectives (established under steps 4 and 5).

  8. Adapt Management According to New Information: In this step, project managers respond to new information and technology by adjusting management actions, directions, and goals: management planning, action, monitoring, and feedback are established as a continuous cycle. BPA will encourage and support adaptive management actions that respond to problems or opportunities identified through monitoring. Project managers will also be encouraged to apply new knowledge, insights or technologies that may contribute to meeting biological objectives. Specifically, project managers will carry out the following:

    • Use monitoring information to guide annual management priorities and activity planning.

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 Page last reviewed on 6/5/2007 11:17:49 AM