Columbia River Basin: A Multilayered Collection of Directives and Plans Guides Federal Fish and Wildlife Activities

GAO-04-602 Published: Jun 04, 2004. Publicly Released: Jun 04, 2004.
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Numerous federal agencies conduct water, power, or resource management activities affecting the fish and wildlife of the Columbia River Basin, as well as the 13 tribes residing there. These agencies, such as the Bonneville Power Administration (Bonneville), Army Corps of Engineers, and Forest Service, and regulatory agencies, such as the National Marine Fisheries Service, are also responsible for protecting, sustaining, and enhancing fish and wildlife resources in the basin and involving the tribes in the process. Recently, Bonneville's financial position deteriorated significantly, and some tribes in the basin challenged Bonneville's actions modifying funding of fish and wildlife activities in federal court. In this context, GAO agreed to (1) identify and describe the laws, treaties, executive orders, and court decisions that define federal responsibilities to perform activities benefiting fish and wildlife in the basin and involve the tribes, and (2) describe the plans and programs that guide these respective fish and wildlife activities. In accordance with our policy to refrain from addressing matters that are in litigation, GAO did not examine any issues that are before the court.

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