Douglas PUD worked cooperatively with various state and federal fisheries agencies, environmental organizations and tribes to develop the first hydropower Anadromous Fish Agreement and Habitat Conservation Plan (HCP) for anadromous salmon and steelhead. Parties to the HCP include:
- National Marine Fisheries Service (NMFS)
- United States Fish and Wildlife Service (USFWS)
- Washington Department of Fish and Wildlife (WDFW)
- Confederated Tribes of the Colville Reservation (CCT)
- Confederated Tribes and Bands of the Yakama Nation (YN)
The Wells HCP commits Douglas PUD to a 50-year program, starting in 2004 and ending in 2054, toward ensuring that its Wells Hydroelectric Project has no net impact on mid-Columbia salmon and steelhead runs. This mission is accomplished through a combination of juvenile and adult fish-passage measures at Wells Dam, hatchery programs, and scientific monitoring and evaluations, and habitat protection and restoration work conducted in the tributaries upstream of the dam.
The Wells HCP has been signed by NMFS, USFWS, WDFW, CCT, YN, Douglas PUD, and the Wells Project Power Purchasers (Puget Sound Energy, Portland General Electric, PacifiCorp, and Avista Corporation). The Wells HCP was reviewed and approved by NMFS after issuing biological opinions and Incidental Take Permits covering hatchery and hydro project operations. The Federal Energy Regulatory Commission (FERC) approved the Wells HCP on June 21, 2004. The 50-year term of the HCP was initiated on this date and runs through June 20, 2054.
The species covered by the Wells HCP include spring Chinook, summer/fall Chinook, Coho, Sockeye and Steelhead. The Wells HCP also provides Endangered Species Act coverage for all Endangered Species Act permit species including spring Chinook, summer/fall Chinook, sockeye salmon, and steelhead. Coho salmon were extirpated from the water upstream of Wells Dam prior to the construction of the dam but the HCP provides support for the reintroduction and enhancement of this reintroduced species of anadromous fish.
The HCP also constitutes the parties’ terms, conditions and recommendations for Plan Species under Sections 10(a), 10(j), and 18 of the Federal Power Act; the Fish and Wildlife Conservation Act; the Essential Fish Habitat provisions of the Magnuson-Stevens Fishery Conservation and Management Act; the Pacific Northwest Electric Power Planning and Conservation Act; and Title 77 RCW of the State of Washington.
The Wells HCP Coordinating Committee provides technical oversight over the implementation and passage of survival related measures required by the Wells HCP. The HCP Coordinating Committee also supervises the other HCP committees and resolves any disputes.
The Wells HCP Hatchery Committee oversees the implementation of the HCP Hatchery Compensation Plan. This Plan is intended to enhance the productive potential of all five plan species by up to 7% through either hatchery or other committee approved actions.
The Wells HCP Tributary Committee oversees the implementation of the HCP Tributary Conservation Plan which utilizes funds set aside contributed each year by Douglas PUD to protect and enhance tributary habitats upstream of Wells Dam.