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Friday, April 14th

Collaboration or Confrontation?-- Take your pick. Clark Fork Projects Hydro Relicensing

Joseph Dos Santos, Avista Corporation
Tim Swant, Avista Corporation

In the United States, privately owned hydroelectric facilities operate under fifty year licenses issued and administered by the Federal Energy Regulatory Commission (FERC). The usual process of license renewal involves consternation, confrontation, and litigation, resulting in delayed environmental mitigation and damaged professional relationships. Faced with the upcoming relicensing of two large hydroelectric facilities in the year 2001, Avista Corporation (formally Washington Water Power Company) knew that there had to be a better way. In February of 1999, Avista Corporation filed a renewal application culminating seven years of environmental studies and consultation with state and federal agencies, tribes, local government, landowners, and special interest groups. The heart of the application is the Clark Fork Settlement Agreement, representing consensus among 27 parties on all environmental and operational issues. The Settlement Agreement, based on the principles of adaptive management, provides for greater local control, allows for early implementation of natural resource enhancements (March 1999), provides for the management of dynamic resources through the new term of the license, and establishes long term, collaborative working relationships. This Clark Fork collaborative is nationally recognized as a model for FERC’s recently adopted alternative approach to relicensing. A better way.

Bull trout (Salvelinus confluentus) recovery is a key issue in the relicensing of the Clark Fork projects. Listed as threatened under the Endangered Species Act, bull trout are the subject of a comprehensive restoration plan developed by the collaborative participants. Avista Corp. funding of fisheries programs in northern Idaho and northwestern Montana will benefit all native salmonids, but with a particular emphasis on bull trout.

Determination of the Origin of Bull Trout below Cabinet Gorge Dam

Lukas P. Neraas, University of Montana, Missoula
Paul Spruell, University of Montana - Missoula

Migratory bull trout (Salvelinus confluentus) that spawned in the Clark Fork River drainage historically inhabited Lake Pend Oreille as subadult and adult fish. If this premise is correct, the construction of Cabinet Gorge Dam disrupted the connectivity of the Pend Oreille / Clark Fork metapopulation. We used eight microsatellite loci to compare bull trout collected at the base of Cabinet Gorge Dam to fish sampled both above and below the dam. These data were analyzed using Cavalli-Sforza and Edwards' (CSE) chord distance and Paetkau’s individual assignment test. The CSE UPGMA and Paetkau’s individual assignment test suggest that Cabinet Gorge bull trout are genetically more similar to tributaries sampled from above the dam. This relationship suggests that the risks associated with passing a limited number of radio tagged adults are minimal compared to the potential genetic and demographic benefits to populations located above the dam.