Federal Columbia River Power System Biological Opinion Hydrosystem
The FCRPS is comprised of a series of hydropower projects in the Columbia Basin located on the mainstem Columbia River and in several of its major tributaries. The System provides about one third of the electricity used in the Pacific Northwest. The Bureau of Reclamation (Reclamation) and USACE operate and maintain the 14 facilities that are included in the FCRPS Biological Opinions (BiOps).
The Bonneville Power Administration (BPA) markets the power generated from the federal projects and distributes power from both the federal and non-federal projects through its transmission system. The revenues collected cover the cost of operating and maintaining the projects and contribute to the region's efforts to protect and rebuild fish and wildlife populations in the Columbia Basin.
The Action Agencies (Reclamation, USACE, and BPA) operate the System to meet the following purposes:
- Flood Control
- Power Generation
- Fish & Wildlife
- Municipal and industrial water supply and quality
This map displays dams on the Columbia and Snake Rivers. USACE and Reclamation dams comprise the FCRPS (teal and white symbols).
Technical Management Team
The Technical Management Team (TMT) is an interagency technical group comprised of sovereign representatives responsible for making in-season recommendations to the Action Agencies on dam and reservoir operations in an effort to meet the expectations of the applicable biological opinion and accommodate changing conditions, such as water supply, fish migration, water quality and maintenance issues. The TMT consists of representatives from the Action Agencies, NOAA Fisheries, US Fish & Wildlife Service (USFWS), the states of Oregon, Washington, Idaho, and Montana, and Tribal sovereigns.
Each year the Action Agencies prepare a water management plan (WMP) consistent with the current NOAA Fisheries BiOp. This WMP describes the planned operations of the FCRPS dams and reservoirs for the water year (October 1 through September 30). The WMP implements water management measures consistent with actions considered in the current biological opinion. The operations are designed to:
- Assist in meeting the biological performance standards to ensure adequate water is available for juvenile fish migrations as specified in the biological opinion in combination with other actions.
- Meet non-biological opinion related requirements and purposes such as flood control, spill operations affecting water levels of total dissolved gas, hydropower operations that ensure safety, irrigation and water storage, navigation, recreation, and fish and wildlife not listed under the Endangered Species Act.
Additional information regarding Columbia River flood control information may be found at: http://www.nwd.usace.army.mil/Missions/WaterManagement/ColumbiaRiverBasin/ColumbiaRiverFlood Control.aspx
Columbia River System Operations (CRSO) NEPA Process
In accordance with the National Environmental Policy Act, the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers, Bureau of Reclamation, and Bonneville Power Administration, referred to as the Action Agencies, intend to prepare an environmental impact statement (EIS) on the Columbia River System operations and configurations for 14 federal projects in the interior Columbia Basin.
In this Columbia River System Operations EIS, the three agencies will present a reasonable range of alternatives for long-term system operations and evaluate the potential environmental and socioeconomic impacts on flood risk management, irrigation, power generation, navigation, fish and wildlife, cultural resources and recreation. The Action Agencies will serve as joint-lead agencies in developing the EIS.
Additional information concerning the CRSO NEPA Process: www.crso.info
Monitoring is essential to decision making; Reclamation managers monitor current weather and water conditions to make decisions for the operation of facilities within its jurisdiction. Several networks and numerous recording stations are constantly monitoring water conditions, recording information, and transmitting details to computer systems read by a myriad of water and land management entities across the West. AgriMet and Hydromet are two of the main monitoring systems that Reclamation uses to inform river and reservoir operations decisions.
Columbia River System Operations
Federal Columbia River Power System Hydro Projects
Technical Management Team
Reclamation Pacific Northwest Water Operations
Upper Snake Flow Augmentation Reports
VARQ (variable discharge, or "variable Q")
Bureau of Reclamation
Pacific Northwest Region
1150 N Curtis Road, Suite 100
Boise, Idaho 83706