Willamette Project Biological Opinions:
What are they—and what do they mean for the Willamette Basin?
Mindy Simmons, U.S. Army Corps of Engineers
Noon to 1 pm
Portland Building Auditorium (2nd Floor)
1120 SW Fifth
Mindy M. Simmons, Willamette Program Manager for the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers’ Portland District will describe the Biological Opinions for the Willamette Project and explain the major actions they require at an upcoming Rivers Office brownbag.
In July 2008, two “BiOps” were issued under the Endangered Species Act (ESA) by the National Marine Fisheries Service and the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service. These BiOps cover the operation of the 13 Willamette Project dams and reservoirs, maintenance of 42 miles of revetments, and operation of the Hatchery Mitigation Program.
The BiOps require the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers, Bonneville Power Administration, and the U.S. Bureau of Reclamation to implement over 90 actions to improve conditions for ESA-listed spring Chinook salmon, winter steelhead, bull trout, and Oregon chub.
Actions include designing and building fish passage facilities to reintroduce fish upstream of the high-head dams. However, the BiOps also require the agencies to improve habitat downstream of the dams by correcting water temperatures, providing the appropriate amount of water, and improving physical habitat.
Because of the wide range of effects of the Willamette Project on these species, the range of required actions is broad, interdisciplinary, and will be technically challenging to implement on the specified timeline.
Mindy’s presentation will:
· answer the question “what is a BiOp, anyway?”,
· describe the major effects of the Willamette Project on fish and habitat,
· describe the major actions required over the next 15 years, and
· highlight some of the challenges we face in recovering fish in the Willamette Basin.
For more information, call 503.823.0275.