The purpose is to establish a task force under the authority of the Marine Fisheries Advisory Committee (MAFAC) to provide expert advice and create a communication conduit for geographically focused stakeholder input to MAFAC, and subsequently from MAFAC to NOAA’s National Marine Fisheries Service (NOAA Fisheries) Leadership, on Endangered Species Act (ESA) listed and non-listed salmon and steelhead issues and goals that integrate long-term conservation and harvest/fishing and support regional and local efforts amongst Columbia Basin partners. This advice and related information will contribute to fulfilling NOAA Fisheries mission activities.
This Task Force is being established to expand the expertise of MAFAC and to help MAFAC provide advice and input to NOAA Fisheries Leadership on the Columbia Basin Partnership (CBP) and its future activities. By reporting to MAFAC, the Task Force will assist NOAA Fisheries in fulfilling its central role in ensuring that ESA, tribal trust, and sustainable fishing responsibilities integrate conservation and harvest through an inclusive approach in the Columbia Basin. The Task Force will be science-based, results driven, transparent, and publicly embraced.
The initial actions for consideration of the Task Force include:
- Provide a framework for developing quantitative goals for salmon and steelhead at the species, stock, and major population group (MPG).
- Collaboratively develop goals to meet conservation needs while also providing harvest, including that necessary to satisfy treaty rights, and fishing opportunities. Goals will be developed in light of habitat capacity, climate change, and other ecosystem conditions that affect natural production.
- Foster a strong foundation of collaborative relationships to address multiple management decisions in coming years.
The Columbia Basin is home to one of the richest arrays of salmon and steelhead in the world, and this wealth of anadromous species holds great ecological, cultural, spiritual, and economic value. Protecting, restoring, and effectively managing these valuable species is one of the region’s greatest responsibilities, and one of NOAA Fisheries’ greatest challenges. The Task Force’s work will depend on wide, candid, and honest participation by all who care about salmon and steelhead.
The scope of this effort covers:
- All ESA-listed and non-listed salmon and steelhead in the Columbia Basin, above and below Bonneville Dam;
- Ocean, main stem, and tributary fisheries that harvest Columbia Basin stocks, including commercial, recreational, and tribal fisheries;
- Multiple scales (basin-wide, species, and major population group);
- All impacts across salmon and steelhead life-cycles (e.g. habitat, harvest, hatchery, and hydro); and
- Consideration of ecological conditions and current and future habitat capacity.
NOAA Fisheries West Coast Region and the Northwest Power and Conservation Council will serve as ex-officio members of the Task Force.
Terms and Composition
This Task Force will consist of 25 to 35 individuals. The individuals will be made up of regional sovereigns and stakeholders. Given the long history of sovereign collaboration in the Columbia Basin as well an obligations for Government-to-Government relations with Tribes, up to 10 member seats will be allocated to sovereigns and the remainder (up to 25) for stakeholders. This Task Force creates an important opportunity for stakeholders to engage in meaningful collaboration along with regional sovereigns.
The Task Force members will strive to work together to seek support for common goals over the longterm by integrating local and regional efforts, improving efficiency, considering existing information on= goals, the full salmon life-cycle, the four Hs (habitat, hydropower, hatcheries, and harvest), species’ status, and current environmental conditions.
Members of the Task Force will serve to reflect the broader constituency that they represent. The Task Force will be made up of representatives from the four Northwest states (Oregon, Washington, Idaho, and Montana), regional tribes, state agencies, and local recovery groups, as well as members that represent the following interests:
- Commercial fishing
- Recreational fishing
- River industries
It is intended that the Task Force members represent the diverse constituent groups and partners that interact with NOAA Fisheries from the states of Oregon, Washington, Idaho, and Montana. Task Force members will be appointed for a term up to two (2) years.
Organization and Reporting
The Task Force may meet in person at the discretion of MAFAC with the concurrence of the members. Other meetings may be conducted by telephone or using other meeting technology.
The Task Force will report to the MAFAC’s Ecosystem Approach Subcommittee, which will report on its activities, findings, recommendations, reports, and other deliverables at regular meetings of MAFAC. Individual members of the Task Force are not prohibited from providing individual input to NOAA Fisheries on topics which do not concern MAFAC upon NOAA Fisheries’ request.
Funding would be provided by NOAA Fisheries West Coast Region. Members of the Task Force are not compensated for their services, but will upon request be allowed to travel and per diem expenses as authorized by 5 U.S.C. § 5701 et seq.
The Task Force will be established for an initial period of two (2) years with a possibility of extending that term if deemed necessary by NOAA Fisheries and MAFAC.
The term for the initial two year period for the Columbia Basin Partnership Task Force began in January 2017, when its members were brought together for its first meeting. The initial two year period ends at the end of January 2019.
The Marine Fisheries Advisory Committee (MAFAC) held its spring 2018 meeting in June in Portland, Oregon, with the specific purpose of receiving an extensive update on the progress of the Task Force. On June 27, members of the Task Force presented on their progress to date and discussed their operating principles, the overarching vision that has been guiding their work, and the development of qualitative and technical quantitative goals. The members presented their timeline and confirmed that a report on the provisional qualitative and quantitative goals under consideration was due for completion by the end of January 2019.
MAFAC members were extremely pleased with the progress and work completed to date. MAFAC agreed that a second phase of work, comprised of scenario planning and related efforts, would help establish integrated goals for long-term conservation and harvest/fishing of salmon and steelhead and would support collaborative regional and local efforts amongst Columbia Basin partners.
Based on this assessment, MAFAC members unanimously approved extending the term of the Task Force for an additional two year period, from the end of January 2019 through the end of January 2021.