Institutional Context

Management Structures for Columbia Basin Anadromous Fish

During the past twenty years, the region has established institutions to manage restoration of anadromous fish in the Columbia Basin in addition to structures used for managing fisheries. Using the authorities of their participating governments, these structures are intended to focus personnel and resources on the tasks of restoration in an efficient and effective manner. Restoration of Columbia Basin anadromous fish requires procedures that are authoritative, efficient, goal-oriented, and can effectively resolve disputes. Where existing processes meet these standards, their most useful aspects should be retained. Where they fail, they should be modified, replaced, or eliminated.

The tribal recommendations for institutional change reflect the need to manage activities affecting anadromous fish in a manner that implements restoration and recovery through adaptive management, or “learning by doing.” This document proposes a series of hypotheses that are designed to lessen human-caused mortality at all stages of the life cycle of the species in question. The institutional recommendations are aimed at managing the implementation of the hypotheses, evaluating outcomes and modifying the hypotheses to reflect knowledge obtained. In general, these recommendations utilize existing structures but modify them to provide increased accountability for the parties with direct responsibilities for increasing survival and meaningful participation for the tribes whose very existence is dependent upon restoration and recovery.

There are currently five major institutional structures governing anadromous fish restoration in the upper Columbia Basin. They include: the Columbia River Fish Management Plan (CRFMP) under the jurisdiction of the Federal District Court of Oregon15; the Pacific Salmon Treaty16; the FWP adopted under the authority of the Pacific Northwest Power Planning and Conservation Act of 1980 (Northwest Power Act)17; the orders of the Federal Energy Regulatory Commission (FERC)18, and the processes authorized under the Endangered Species Act19. Each of these structures addresses important aspects of the life cycle of upriver anadromous fish and each, to varying degrees, coordinates recovery efforts among necessary parties and authorities and provides an authoritative planning process, appropriate goals and objectives, and dispute resolution for restoring Columbia Basin anadromous fish. The first four programs, however, are based upon the concept of co-management recognizing, especially, the unique authorities and functions of the federal, state, and tribal governments in managing salmon resources. Implementation of the ESA, how-ever, centralizes authority for recovery in one federal fishery agency that has demonstrated neither the capacity nor the intent to rebuild upriver salmon runs.


15. United States v. Oregon, 699 F. Supp. 1456 (D. Or. 1968).

16. Treaty Between the Government of the United States and the Government of Canada Concerning Pacific Salmon, Treaty Doc. No. 99-2 (entered into force, March 18, 1985).

17. Pub. L. 95-501, 94 Stat. 2697 (1980), 16 U.S.C. §§ 839-839h (1982).

18. Pub. L. No. 95-91, §§ 301(b), 401-407, 91 Stat. 565, 578, 582-587 (1977).

19. Endangered Species Act of 1973, 16 U.S.C. §§ 1531-1544 (1988).

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