To secure fish resource protection on private lands in conjunction with public land management, actively support ongoing watershed approaches and start new ones to implement subbasin planning in accordance with the FWP and CRFMP through a Columbia Basin watershed fund.Currently, watershed approaches are being funded by BPA and used throughout the Columbia Basin to implement the Fish and Wildlife Program. Watersheds include the Grande Ronde, Lemhi, Pahsimeroi, East Fork of the Salmon, Asotin, Tucannon, Methow, Entiat, Wenatchee, and Yakima. In many cases, the Natural Resources Conservation Service (formerly the Soil Conservation Service) through its county offices is facilitating these efforts with participation from the states of Oregon, Washington, and Idaho and the tribes. But use of the watershed approach is not limited to the Columbia basin.
A survey of approaches in the United States found that watershed initiatives could provide a useful means of resolving environmental and natural resource conflicts:
Employ voluntary, multi-stakeholder collaborative approaches to protect, restore and monitor natural resources and to resolve natural resource conflicts. These approaches should be open and inclusive, based on existing laws, and conducted within a framework of natural systems–watershed, ecosystems, bio-regions or other defining land-forms–using the best available science. This recommendation is patterned after successful approaches used all across the country. It is intended to provide impetus for stakeholders and communities to work together in searching for common goals, resolving conflicts, becoming aware of and using best available science, meeting legal requirements for protecting the environment, monitoring natural resources and redeeming collective responsibility for conditions and trends of resources (President’s Council on Sustainable Development 1995).
These standards are applicable to the Columbia Basin and serve as an alternative to polarizing controversy and costly litigation that wastes time and money that could be spent on salmon restoration. The approach is also intended as an alternative approach to the implementation of state and federal habitat protection statutes that are not being effectively enforced. The tribal recommendations included in Volume II are proposed as fishery objectives for watershed planning in each subbasin and are based upon the best science available.
Funding is currently provided by a variety of sources including BPA, other federal agency support, state legislative appropriations, and private funding as well as significant in-kind contributions. Establish a Columbia Basin Watershed fund to encourage additional resources and provide facilitation services and technical support without diminishing local initiative. In order to participate in watershed approaches, tribes will need at least 1 FTE per watershed for coordination purposes.