Columbia Basin Anadromous Fish Monitoring and Evaluation

iStock_000005423801XSmallspawningSteelhd“The improved monitoring strategies will greatly improve our ability to assess and adaptively manage Columbia Basin salmonid populations.”

– Project participant

Oregon Consensus helped design, convene and facilitate a Regional Workshop to develop agreement on a Columbia Basin Coordinated Anadromous Fish Monitoring and Evaluation (M&E) Strategy. The five-day workshop included more than 70 representatives of  25 organizations with the overall goal of agreeing on an effective framework and strategy for monitoring and assessing anadromous salmon and steelhead population parameters and habitat and hatchery effectiveness in the Columbia Basin. The project addressed the needs of the Bonneville Power Administration’s (BPA) Federal Columbia River Power System BiOp, the Northwest Power and Conservation Council (NPCC) Fish and Wildlife Program, the ESA recovery efforts and regional fisheries.

Issues and Challenges

The project faced complex political and regulatory challenges including the synthesis of extensive technical data and impacts on established agency project funding. Geographically, the M&E strategy applies to the entire Columbia River Basin, including eight large sub-basins in three states. It will impact dozens of organizations and governments and hundreds of monitoring projects focused on approximately 150 distinct salmonid populations.


Workshop participants reached agreement in principle on a basin-wide strategy, and prioritized resource allocations for current projects as well as proposals to fill gaps in monitoring coverage.

The outcome gave BPA, the NPCC Fish and Wildlife Program, and other stakeholders greater certainty that they will have sufficient monitoring in place to accurately assess progress toward restoration of species affected by the Federal Columbia River Power System.  That assessment is critical to the overall effort to save endangered salmonids. The process also allowed resource managers from across the region to interact and coordinate in furtherance of shared goals.

OC provided process design and facilitation to keep the project on track, and worked closely with convening agencies for technical support and clarification of the project goals.


BPA; CBFWA; NOAA; NPCC; IDFG; ODFW; OWEB; WDFW; WA Monitoring Forum; OR Governors Salmon Recovery Office; SRB-LC; SRB-SR; SRB-Yak; SRB-UC; Tribal Co-Managers: Colville, Nez Perce, Shoshone-Bannock, Umatilla, Warm Springs, Yakama; CRITFC; ISRP/ISAB; PNAMP; USFWS; USFS; USACE; BOR

Project Lead

Turner Odell
Natural Resources Program Manager
Oregon Consensus
Portland State University
(503) 725-9070


Turner Odell, Oregon Consensus; Robert Williams, Meridian Institute; Peter Harkema, Kearns & West

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