- Associated Press - Saturday, June 20, 2015

PORTLAND, Ore. (AP) - Three federal agencies - the Bonneville Power Administration, the U.S. Bureau of Reclamation and the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers - provide funding and technical assistance to states, tribes, local watershed groups, conservation agencies and other local entities to develop, build and manage habitat restoration projects in the Columbia River Basin.

On average, the federal agencies spend more than $100 million annually on salmon and steelhead habitat protection and improvement. Additionally, they spend more than $20 million annually on research, monitoring and evaluation of these projects.

NOAA Fisheries, the agency that issues the management plans, also spends money on monitoring.

In addition, other entities such as states, tribes, nonprofits or foundations also fund habitat restoration work in the basin.

A look at federal spending on habitat improvement projects by agency:

- Bonneville Power Administration: $536 million from 2004 to 2014 on habitat restoration basin-wide. Most of the money funds BPA’s partners, including tribes, states and other entities that develop and create the habitat projects. Going forward, the agency says its projected habitat budgets are expected to stay consistent with 2013 and 2014 levels, or on average roughly $73 million annually.

- U.S. Bureau of Reclamation: $88 million from 2001 to 2014 on tributary habitat restoration, mostly technical assistance and upfront planning for habitat projects done by partners such as tribes or states.

- U.S. Corps of Engineers: $26 million from 2003-2014 on ecosystem restoration in the lower Columbia River tributaries and in the estuary.

- NOAA Fisheries: $84 million from 2000 to 2014, mostly on support functions including staff, research and project monitoring.

- TOTAL: $734 million spent on habitat restoration by all the agencies 2000-2014, with more spending planned.



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