Idaho Announces Long-Term Agreement
(BOISE) - Governor C. L. "Butch" Otter and Bonneville Power Administration (BPA) Administrator Stephen J. Wright announced a 10-year $65 million funding agreement today to enhance fish recovery projects in Idaho.
"We celebrate this historic event and look forward to the next 10 years of stable funding," Governor Otter said. "We spend too much time and money in the courts and not enough time out on the ground improving fish habitat. This is a great day for Idaho's fish and wildlife."
New projects will be scientifically reviewed by the Independent Scientific Review Panel as mandated by the Pacific Northwest Electric Power Planning and Conservation Act of 1980. BPA is accepting public comments through April 23, 2008, on the proposed agreement.
The projects are planned for the Lower Clearwater River/Potlatch River Watershed, Pahsimeroi River and the Lemhi River regions. In particular, restoration of Idaho sockeye salmon runs will benefit from funding to develop and expand a new hatchery that will allow for increased smolt production.
The agreement also provides for habitat acquisition and restoration to increase and protect vital spawning habitat for Idaho's threatened and endangered fish runs. In addition, it provides funding to purchase water in priority areas - returning water to streams that dry up during important spawning months - and for a "nutrient enhancement feasibility study" for the improvement of stream productivity and vegetation in streamside areas.
"This agreement enhances our proposed plan for threatened and endangered salmon," the BPA's Wright said. "The proposed agreement will provide substantial biological benefits for Snake River fish and increased certainty of funding and implementation for our State of Idaho partners. I deeply appreciate the cooperative spirit that Governor Otter and his staff have brought to this effort and Idaho's important contributions toward effective habitat and hatchery projects in the state."
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