Developing a Regional Research Partnership in the Columbia River Basin
Steve M. Waste
The Northwest Power and Conservation Council (Council) Columbia River Basin Fish and Wildlife Program is one of the largest regional efforts in the nation to recover, rebuild, and mitigate impacts of hydropower dams on fish and wildlife. As a planning, policy-making, and reviewing body, the Council develops and then monitors implementation of the program, which is funded by the Bonneville Power Administration and implemented by tribal, state, and federal fish and wildlife managers and others.
For over 20 years the Council has supported a diverse range of research efforts. Hundreds of excellent projects, including dedicated research projects and restoration projects with research elements, have been completed since the inception of the program in 1982. Projects implemented under the Council’s program and others in the Columbia River basin have substantially advanced the state of scientific understanding of fish and wildlife restoration. Yet the continuing absence of a plan to coordinate research has contributed to a lack of focus on key research needs. To complement its traditionally strong support for research, the Council has approved a Columbia River basin research plan to guide the development of a research under its program and to coordinate with the research programs of other entities within the region.
The Columbia River basin research plan recognizes other research plans as important components of a potentially integrated regional research program and provides a framework for establishing linkages between existing research programs and initiatives. This plan recommends research to be funded through the program, as well as recommendations for research that will require collaborative, multiparty funding commitments by the Council and other entities with similar research mandates.