C.L. "BUTCH" OTTER
FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
September 23, 2014
CONTACT: Jon Hanian
GOVERNOR OTTER, BPA REACH $40 MILLION AGREEMENT FOR HABITAT AND ACCESS
(BOISE) – Southern Idaho wildlife habitat got a huge boost today from a new $40 million agreement between the State of Idaho and the Bonneville Power Administration. The agreement provides for protection and enhancement of at least 8,588 acres of wildlife habitat, with acquisition goals over the next ten years.
“This agreement gives the State control of acquiring and managing wildlife habitat lost as a result of federal dams in southern Idaho,” Governor C.L. “Butch” Otter said. “The agreement also protects the State’s fiscal interests by establishing a dedicated endowment fund to ensure Idaho can manage these lands for future generations.”
The agreement is designed to mitigate the impacts on wildlife from development of federal hydropower dams in southern Idaho (Palisades, Black Canyon, Minidoka, and Anderson Ranch). The agreement also includes operational impacts of Deadwood Dam on fish and wildlife habitat.
“This agreement, funded by our electrical ratepayers, clearly defines and meets BPA’s mitigation requirements to the State in southern Idaho, while providing great benefit to the State for wildlife and, in many cases, resident fish,” said Lorri Bodi, vice president of Environment, Fish and Wildlife for BPA.
Members of the Northwest Power and Conservation Council who helped facilitate the agreement say it is good for Idaho fish and wildlife
“Idaho is pleased to have this resolved,” Idaho Council member Bill Booth said. “Our State will take an ecosystem approach in selecting, restoring and managing the properties that are acquired. By protecting and restoring ecosystem structure and function, we expect to provide significant benefits to fish, wildlife and other important resources of interest in our state.”
BPA will pay the Idaho Department of Fish and Game (IDFG) $40 million over a ten-year period to support the administration, operation and maintenance, and restoration and acquisition of wildlife habitat as appropriate for southern Idaho wildlife mitigation.
Of the total, $22 million will be used for restoration, acquisition and stewardship costs associated with new projects (at least 8,588 acres), $4 million will be used to administer the program over the next 10 years, and the remaining $14 million will be placed in a State endowment fund to pay for perpetual management of approximately 8,700 acres already protected by the mitigation program. Lands owned and managed by IDFG for fish and wildlife conservation generally are open to public access.
“The agreement provides Idaho greater flexibility in how we realize mitigation benefits,” Idaho Fish and Game Director Virgil Moore said. “Certainty of funding for new mitigation projects as well as long-term funding to manage these properties is critical.”
The agreement fulfills half of the mitigation for the impacts of hydropower development in Southern Idaho. The other half of the debt is due the Shoshone-Bannock and Shoshone Paiute Tribes, who also work with BPA to protect wildlife and wildlife habitat as part of their own mitigation programs.