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Endangered Species Act Process

The Endangered Species Act (ESA) provides for the conservation of species that the federal government lists as endangered or threatened and the conservation of ecosystems on which those species depend. 

Bonneville is committed to protecting and recovering threatened and endangered species in the Columbia River Basin. Under the ESA, we consult with the United States Fish and Wildlife Service (USFWS) and the National Marine Fisheries Service (NMFS) to protect ESA-listed species affected by our transmission lines, power, and fish and wildlife projects through the ESA section 7 interagency process. The USFWS holds jurisdiction over terrestrial and freshwater species, while NMFS holds jurisdiction over marine mammals and anadromous salmon and steelhead.  

Bonneville works with NMFS and USFWS to make this process as efficient as possible. One way we have streamlined the consultation process is through programmatic biological opinions for Bonneville’s Fish and Wildlife Program. Known as the Habitat Improvement Program Biological Opinion, or HIP4, this Biological Opinion provides ESA compliance for most of the habitat improvement activities that BPA funds. This process has saved time and money for both agencies while accelerating habitat improvement project implementation.

For an overview of the federal effort to recover ESA-listed salmon and steelhead in the Columbia Basin, see