Bonneville Power Administration has extended an agreement supporting continued operation of the Fish Passage Center through November.
Congress in 2005 ordered BPA to stop funding the center, which handles salmon monitoring activities and scientific analysis in the Columbia River Basin. Critics contended FPC played too great an advocacy role in addition to scientific monitoring.
Consistent with a court order, BPA extended the contract after the Pacific Environmental Advocacy Center and Yakama Nation filed emergency motions in the 9th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals stating the Fish Passage Center should remain open with continued BPA funding.
The court ordered BPA to keep the center open, pending a hearing in August. BPA previously accepted proposals from two contractors to assume functions performed by the FPC. The Pacific States Marine Fisheries Commission was to take over data warehousing, smolt monitoring, and routine data analysis. Battelle Pacific Northwest National Laboratory was to provide in-depth technical analysis.
BPA said it would keep in place its contract with Battelle for independent, peer-reviewed, technical analysis pending a final court decision. However, the Pacific States Marine Fisheries Commission contract is on hold, BPA said.