The study area of the Lower Columbia River Ecosystem Restoration Program encompasses the study area of the Lower Columbia Estuary Partnership (Estuary Partnership) and includes all tidally influenced areas of the mainstem and tributaries from Bonneville Dam to the plume. The Columbia River historically supported diverse and abundant populations of fish and wildlife and is thought to have been one of the largest historical producers of Pacific salmonids in the world. Additionally, the lower Columbia River is one of the most important areas in the Pacific Flyway providing migrating, overwintering and/or breeding habitats for shorebirds, waterfowl and neotropical bird species. Anthropogenic changes since the 1860s have significantly reduced the quantity and quality of habitat available to fish and wildlife species. Contributing factors include altered timing, magnitude, duration, frequency, and rate of change in river flows; degraded water quality and increased toxic, chemical contaminants; introduction of invasive exotic species and
altered food web dynamics. Ecosystem-based restoration of the lower Columbia River and estuary has become a regional priority in order to recover its historic productivity and diversity of fish and wildlife.
In 1995 the Estuary Partnership was established by the governors of Washington and Oregon and the US Environmental Protection Agency (USEPA) when USEPA designated the lower Columbia River ‘an estuary of national significance.’ The National Estuary Program (NEP) was established by the US Congress in 1987 amendments to the Clean Water Act to create collaborative, locally driven programs to conserve and restore the nation’s estuaries. The Estuary Partnership is one of the 28 NEPs, and each NEP facilitates and coordinates a collaborative network of partners to implement the actions and meet the goals within its Comprehensive Conservation and Management Plan (Management Plan).Keyword Tags: