Response for project 198906201: Annual Work Plan Cbfwa

Comment on proposed FY 2006 budget

The CBWFA project's greatest contribution to the region is its responsiveness and flexibility in facilitating regional dialogue relative to unexpected issues (e.g., summer spill, BPA business practices, biological risk assessment team, Decision Framework Workgroup, etc.) that are time-sensitive and often of a contentious nature. From 2002-2004, the CBFWA convened 82 meetings, many at the request of the NPCC or BPA, to address unexpected issues that required discussions among the fish and wildlife managers, NPCC, and BPA, which were not planned for in the original CBFWA project proposal. The proposed budget of $1,852,515 is adequate for the CBFWA to implement the contracted tasks; however, results from 2002-2004 suggest that the CBFWA will likely be requested to facilitate additional meetings to address unexpected issues. Such meetings cannot be specifically identified in a Statement of Work. CBWFA relies on a highly trained and effective staff to respond to shifting needs within the Program, and any reduction in budget will directly impact the level of staff available to serve our Members and the region. A reduction to the CBFWA budget will jeopardize the organization’s flexibility and subsequently compromise its ability to continue to assist the BPA and NPCC with time-sensitive and contentious issues. We request that any budget reduction from $1,852,515 result in a renegotiation of contracted tasks to provide clarity in what sacrifices the NPCC intends.

Accomplishments since the last review

Staff organized and facilitated meetings, developed analyses, and produced reports. Staff maintained a website to support the F&W Program. Staff maintained a database of historic project activities. Members and staff monitored regional meetings and provided input into regional policy and technical issues. Members delivered Annual Implementation Work Plans; 39 within-year budget modification recommendations; policy comments to BPA regarding Federal lands, financial choices, BiOp implementation, strategic direction, Federal RME, and summer spill; comments to NPCC regarding nominations to Fish Passage Center Oversight Board, guide to within-year project review process, review of innovative projects, subbasin planning, 2003 Draft Annual Report, APRE report, reprioritization of the Program, wildlife crediting, Program amendment process, flat funding policy, review of RME projects for the mainstem amendment, and review of the Draft Research Plan. In addition, CBFWA delivered an Annual Implementation Report and analyses on BPA spending. A summary of the regional issues addressed by CBFWA members from 2002-2004 follows: Members mtgs, 7 mtgs, avg attend 44 • Program development/ implementation • BiOp implementation • BPA financial situation • Mainstem operations • MOA • Federal agency coordination • Communication with NPCC and BPA MMG (policy), 41 mts, avg attend 29 • Performed RPR project review and selection • Program start-of- year budget review, within-year budget adjustments • Provided comments on BPA and NPCC policy/technical documents • Participated in amendment process • Convened workshops • Convened ad-hoc committees AFC, RFC, WC (technical), 60 mts, avg attend 17 • Provided project reviews and recommendations • Conducted site visits • Reviewed within-year budget modification requests • Reviewed project accomplishments • Coordinated and facilitated technical workshops/ conferences • Reviewed and commented on regional technical documents Misc ad-hoc committees, 82 mts, avg attend 18 • Business Practices Committee • Regional RME workgroup • Spill Committee and science subcommittee • Fish Screen Oversight Board • Decision Framework Workgroup • 13 Tribes Workgroup • Hosted meetings for others (Fish Passage Center Oversight Board, Biological Risk Assessment Team, Memorandum of Agreement Workgroup, Oregon TOAST, Subbasin Planning workgroups, etc.)

FY 2006 goals and anticipated accomplishments

The goal of the CBFWA project is to provide consensus agreement among the authorized fish and wildlife management entities in the Columbia River Basin and provide guidance to BPA and NPCC in implementation of the Fish and Wildlife Program. This goal is best represented by the PISCES work elements: • Host workshops including Resident Fish Conference, mainstem/systemwide implementation review, RME, fish passage and screening, cost sharing, others as requested by NPCC, BPA, CBFWA and others • Develop, produce and distribute reports on rolling review project implementation, Status of the Resource, and Resident Fish Status and Trends, and others as requested by NPCC, BPA, CBFWA and others • Maintain CBFWA website including posting protocols, providing links to BPA and NPCC websites, post current events, maintain directory, provide access to historical project information, and develop subbasin explorer • Administer HEP and CBFWA members contracts including staff administration and oversight • Coordination and arrangements for CSMEP meetings and workshops • Facilitation and coordination for regional groups including CSMEP, FSOC, RFC, AFC, WC, MMG, 13 Tribes, Members meetings, and other as requested by NPCC, BPA, CBFWA and others • Coordinate with regional groups including PNAMP, RTTs, LTWG, RCG, BOG, NPCC, and BPA • CBFWA members participation in regional groups including PNAMP, RTTs, LTWG, RCG, BOG, NPCC, and BPA • Conduct ongoing staff review and analysis of technical documents • Conduct ongoing Members review and analysis of technical/policy documents • Research and write papers as requested by members on regional F&W scientific and policy issues • Develop draft policy recommendations and facilitate F&W manager review and approval • Required BPA and NPCC reporting including monthly status and annual contract report • Manage and maintain data for CBFWA database including F&W calendar, jobs, directory, committees, conferences, hot topics, historical p

Subbasin planning

How is this project consistent with subbasin plans?

The CBFWA project is consistent with the Northwest Power Act (NPA) and the 2000 Fish and Wildlife Program (Program): The NPA directs the Council to request in writing from the region’s fish and wildlife managers measures, objectives, and “fish and wildlife management coordination and research and development (including funding)” (NPA, 839b(h)(2)). This passage has been referenced by our Members to define CBFWA’s role in the Program. The current Program calls for subbasin plans that include a Management Plan with biological objectives that “are consistent with legal rights and obligations of fish and wildlife agencies and tribes with jurisdiction over fish and wildlife in the subbasin, and agreed upon by co-managers in the subbasin” (page 41). In the Implementation Provisions, under Roles of the Fish and Wildlife Managers, the Program states that “(C)urrently, the fish and wildlife managers, through the Columbia Basin Fish and Wildlife Authority, develop a draft annual program implementation work plan from the projects proposed for funding” and later in that paragraph“(T)he Council anticipates that the fish and wildlife managers will continue to organize themselves and jointly provide these recommendations in the work plan to the Council” (page 46). Finally, under the Tribal Rights, Water Rights, and the Role of the Fish and Wildlife Agencies, in the Recognition of the Tribal Role“(T)he Council also recognizes that implementation of this program will require significant interaction and cooperation with the tribes” and later in the Role of the Fish and Wildlife Agencies “(T)he Northwest Power Act envisions a strong role for fish and wildlife agencies and Indian tribes in developing the provisions of this program” (page 53). CBFWA provides the coordination necessary to support the fish and wildlife managers (including tribes) participation and contribution to the Fish and Wildlife Program as a unified voice.

How do goals match subbasin plan priorities?

The CBFWA project facilitates regional coordination among the fish and wildlife agencies and tribes with jurisdiction over fish and wildlife in the Columbia River Basin and seeks unanimous consensus on important regional, provincial and subbasin level issues in regards to implementing the Council’s Fish and Wildlife Program. This project supports the Northwest Power Act by providing coordination and attempting to develop a “unified fish and wildlife management plan”, that the Council can rely on for development of their fish and wildlife program. This unified plan varies in scope and detail but is provided when the authorized fish and wildlife managers speak with one voice. The CBFWA project supports subbasin planning and the 2000 Fish and Wildlife Program in many ways. At the regional level, CBFWA will be integral in developing work plans and project reviews for Research, Monitoring and Evaluation, Mainstem actions, and Decision Support activities. At the subbasin level, CBFWA can provide uniform and consistent implementation standards across the region, as well as provide logistical support and information to the subbasin level work groups. CBFWA can also facilitate the development of consensus based agreement on subbasin level objectives.

Other comments

General operating expenses (health benefits, general insurance costs, rent, meeting, travel, etc.) have been increasing, some by double digits every year; while the funding for the fish and wildlife program has remained “flat funded” for the last four years. As a result, CBFWA has had to absorb these escalating expenses through initiating cuts in travel, network, meeting costs, and salary freezes. Our recent relocation has saved considerable costs in our monthly office rent. After four years, our budget is as lean as it can get. If flat funding is to continue in the future, it will affect our ability to effectively and efficiently respond to regional issues and meet the contract requirements for our approved work elements. Responding to this information request by the Council staff has required approximately 4.5 person days of time that is not explicitly supported in our current contract with BPA.