• The Columbia Basin Fish Accords: Celebrating five years of collaboration and protecting fish

    On May 16, 2013, tribal, state and federal leaders gathered in Spokane, Washington, to recognize the five-year anniversary of the Columbia Basin Fish Accords. The gathering  reaffirmed the parties’ commitment to the unprecedented partnership and offered them the chance to highlight their priorities for the future.










    Accords partners at the five-year anniversary celebration: Back row, shown left to right:  Paul Lumley, CRITFC, Nathan Small (Chairman, Shoshone -Bannock Tribes Fort Hall Business Council), Brigadier General Anthony Funkhouser, U. S. Army Corps of Engineers, Bill Drummond, BPA, John Sirois (Chairman, Confederated Colville Tribes Business Council), Tom Karier, Northwest Power and Conservation Council. Front row, shown left to right: Gerald Lewis, Member, Yakama Nation Tribal Council, Ray Pierre III, Vice Chairman, Kalispel Tribe Business Council and Lorri Gray, Bureau of Reclamation. 


    There was much to celebrate. The first Accords were signed in May 2008 at a ceremony at Columbia Falls State Park, site of the ancient petroglyph She Who Watches, representing a female tribal chief who watches over the people and the river.


    Under these agreements, the federal agencies, tribes and states work together as partners to provide tangible survival benefits for salmon recovery, by upgrading passage over federal dams, by restoring river and estuary habitat, and by creative use of hatcheries.  


    Since the 2008 celebration, the Accords partners have:


    q Opened up more than 1,100 miles of new spawning habitat – a span of stream and tributary, added up, that is almost as long as the Columbia itself.

    q Protected or improved more than 175,000 acres of fish and wildlife habitat – roughly the size of Crater Lake National Park.

    q Protected more than 35,000 acre feet of water. This is equivalent to the annual residential water consumption of the city of Portland, Oregon.


    At that 2008 celebration, three federal agencies – the Bonneville Power Administration, the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers, and the Bureau of Reclamation – signed 10-year agreements that marked the beginning of an era of collaboration among a diverse array of partners, all committed to working side-by-side in the Columbia Basin for salmon, steelhead and lamprey. The first state and tribal signatories were:


    q Columbia River Inter-Tribal Fish Commission,

    q Confederated Tribes and Bands of the Yakama Nation,

    q Confederated Tribes of the Colville Indian Reservation,

    q Confederated Tribes of the Umatilla Indian Reservation,

    q Confederated Tribes of the Warm Springs Reservation of Oregon

    q State of Idaho

    q State of Montana




        Tribal and federal leaders display the hide they signed May 8, 2008, commemorating the historic agreement. 

    Pictured, from left to right: Colonel Steven Miles, Northwest Division Commander, U.S. Army Corps of Engineers; Antone Minthorn, Chairman, Confederated Tribes of the Umatilla Indian Reservation; Mike Marchand, Chairman, Confederated Tribes of the Colville Indian Reservation; Ralph Sampson, Chairman, Confederated Tribes and Bands of the Yakama Nation; Tim Personius, Deputy Regional Director, Bureau of Reclamation; Steve Wright, Administrator, Bonneville Power Administration; Ron Suppah, Chairman, Confederated Tribes of the Warm Springs Reservation of Oregon; and Fidelia Andy, Chairwoman, Columbia River Inter-Tribal Fish Commission and Yakama Nation Fish and Wildlife Committee. 




    Over the next three years, the State of Washington, the Shoshone Bannock Tribes and the Kalispel Tribe of Indians also signed Accords with the three federal agencies. Today, three Northwest States and seven tribal partners are collaborating with the federal agencies under the Columbia Basin Fish Accords.

    The Accords are designed to supplement the FCRPS BiOp and the Northwest Power and Conservation Council's Fish and Wildlife Program. They provide firm commitments to hydro, habitat and hatchery actions, greater clarity about biological benefits and secure funding for 10 years.